24 August 2014

Nigeria: 35 Police Officers Missing After Boko Haram Attack

Thirty-five policemen have been reported missing after Boko Haram rebels raided a training facility in Nigeria's remote northeast. The group has killed thousands of people in its quest to establish an Islamic state.

Local media reported Sunday that at least 35 police officers had disappeared following the attack on the police academy just outside the town of Gwoza earlier this week.

Authorities announced they had launched a search for the missing group, "with very promising prospects of locating them," police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said in a statement, quoted by news agency AFP.

According to the national police, it is the third attack by the terror group so far this month in the northeastern state of Borno - a Boko Haram stronghold.

Ojukwu acknowledged that some officers may have fled without having had the chance to report their whereabouts. He added that investigations were ongoing, and it was premature to speculate on whether the officers had been taken hostage by the jihadist militants.

Boko Haram was put in the international spotlight after it claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno town of Chibok in April.

The Islamic extremist group says it wants to establish Sharia law in northern Nigeria, where it is believed to have taken control of large swathes of territory. The militants are accused of killing several thousand civilians across the country's north since 2009, while more than 2,000 have been killed this year alone.

According to the United Nations, nearly 650,000 have fled their homes in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, which have been under emergency rule since Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan launched a military campaign against Boko Haram in May last year.

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