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Sun Feb 3, 2013 5:37PM
File photo shows Nigerian soldiers in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

File photo shows Nigerian soldiers in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

The Nigerian military's Joint Task Force (JTF) has killed 17 members of the Boko Haram militant group in a fire fight in northeastern part of the African country, military officials say. According to a statement issued by the JTF spokesman Sagir Musa, at least one Nigerian soldier has lost his life in the gun battle which took place on Friday in the country’s Borno state. Two training camps of the group were also destroyed by Nigerian troops, it added. This comes after a man claiming to be a spokesperson for Boko Haram said on January 28, that the group would agree to lay down its weapons if all its members currently in prison are released. The extremist group has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly gun and bomb attacks in various parts of Nigeria since 2009. Boko Haram has also carried out a number of similar attacks against churches in different parts of Africa's biggest oil producer in recent months. The group has also attacked Muslim figures as well as a range of other targets, including the United Nations’ buildings in the capital Abuja. Human rights groups report that violent actions by Boko Haram since mid-2009 have claimed more than 1,000 lives, including over 300 this year alone. MAM/PKH
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