30 police killed in clash with outlawed Nigerian cult

May 10, 2013 at 4:34 PM
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LAFIA, Nigeria, May 10 (UPI) -- At least 30 Nigerian police officers were killed in an ambush in central Nasarawa state, officials said, while attempting to arrest a tribal cult leader.

Government spokesman Sani Musa Maringa said officers were attempting to arrest a leader of the outlawed Ombatse religious cult when gunmen opened fire.

The state police chief said another 17 police officers were missing.

The incident follows violence Tuesday in the same vicinity in which 60 police officers were attacked near a shrine to the traditional deity of the Eggon people, near Alakyo, Nigeria. That ambush came after 55 people were killed in northeast Nigeria in attacks by a Muslim militant group, and a raid on a jail in the village in Bama Tuesday in which 105 prisoners were freed and Bama's government and police buildings were burned, the BBC said.

The Eggon community is evenly divided between Christians and Muslims but many people continue to follow traditional religions, the BBC noted, adding the Ombatse claim they are engaged in fighting social vices that include alcoholism and adultery.

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