MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Fighting between Nigerian government forces and the Boko Haram in the country's restive north killed 13 suspected militants and one soldier, officials said.
Spokesman Sagir Musa said Joint Task Force Operation Restore Order fought the Islamist militant organization Tuesday in Maiduguri in Nigeria's northwest corner, CNN reported.
The task force condemned Boko Haram attacks dating back to July 2012 in a statement, calling the assaults "incessant callous, brutal, barbaric and impious killings."
CNN said 34 people have died in Nigeria since Christmas because of Boko Haram attacks. The toll includes 27 Christians attending church services.
Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group, has been fighting to impose Sharia [Muslim] law in Nigeria, which has large Muslim and Christian populations.
The U.S. State Department has accused Boko Haram of attacking mosques and churches to foment tension between the two religious groups. The State Department also condemned some of the group's leaders for their alleged ties to al-Qaida.