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Death toll from assault on Nigerian city rises to 47

  |   Feb. 20, 2014 at 12:47 PM
BAMA, Nigeria, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- At least 47 people are confirmed dead after suspected Boko Haram militants assaulted the Nigerian city of Bama for several hours, police and witnesses said.

The gunmen stormed the city in Borno state early Wednesday and used a variety of weapons and explosives to destroy several landmarks, including a portion of the palace of Shehu of Bama, Leadership Newspapers Group reported Thursday.

Alhaji Lawan Tanko, the police commissioner in charge of Borno state said officials in Bama confirmed the deaths of 47 people but not the number of injured.

One person said he was told by his bother that Bama was "being attacked by Boko Haram gunmen."

"From the way my brother talked to me, I believe he was inside the bush, because he said they had all run out of their homes, even in the darkness of the night," Muhammed Babakura told Leadership.

In reaction to a series of attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants on some villages in Borno and Adamawa states, the federal government deployed more troops and ammunition to to augment the military presence already in the area.

Boko Haram, an Islamic militant group, has been fighting to impose Sharia law in Nigeria, which has large Muslim and Christian populations.

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