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Rights group presses Nigeria on violence

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Nigerian leaders should confront national security challenges presented by all parties to the conflict, said Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch says more than 1,400 people in north and central Nigeria were killed by attacks attributed to Islamic group Boko Haram since 2010.

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The militants group seeks to establish and Islamist state in a country divided along Muslim and Christian lines. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is a Christian.

The rights group adds that security forces in the country have held alleged terrorism suspects in isolation without charge or trial. Boko Haram says it's attacking police in retaliation for extrajudicial executions.

Daniel Bekele, director of the Africa program at Human Rights Watch, said the lawlessness in the country is imperiling the lives of thousands of Nigerians.

"Nigeria's leaders need to confront this violence, whether committed by Boko Haram or the country's security forces," he said in a statement from Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to meet Thursday with Jonathan as part of her tour of African nations.

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