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Politics

Nigerian military raids suspected Islamist hide-out

The army in Nigeria says it has killed at least 14 suspected Boko Haram militants after a raid on a home in Kano state, northern Nigeria.

The military claimed that 14 Islamists and one soldier were killed in the raid, bringing the total death toll to fifteen. They also allege that an extremist attack on the city was being planned for Easter Monday.

DW correspondent in Abuja, Ben Shemang, says the army was able to recover fourteen AK-47 rifles, a rocket launcher and an assortment of explosives, which were shown to the media. The hideout was reduced to rubble.

Nigeria has experienced major attacks on Christian holidays in the past, which have been blamed on the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram.

An Easter bombing in the northern city of Kaduna last year killed 41 people.

'Black Easter' in central Nigeria

Separately, violence involving rival ethnic groups in central Nigeria has killed at least 36 people and left dozens of houses burnt over the past week.

Destroyed buses after a bomb attack by Boko Haram that left atleast 25 people dead

The insurgency in northern Nigeria continues to claim lives and destroy property

The latest casualties are in addition to at least 23 people who were killed in attacks in the volatile region on March 20 and 21.

The violence has seen ethnic Fulani Muslims raid Christian villages in Plateau state, an area where thousands have been killed in recent years in a cycle of attacks and reprisals.

Boko Haram has also been blamed for bombings in Jos, the capital of Plateau state.

Plateau state lies in the so-called Middle Belt region dividing the mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north.

Possible talks with Boko Haram

DW's Ben Shemang says a group of industrialists from northern Nigeria have announced that they intend to facilitate direct talks between Boko Haram and the government in order to end the insurgency in northern Nigeria.

The insecurity caused by the extremist group has led to the closure of several industries in the north which has hampered development and investment opportunities.

But the government has made it clear in the past that it cannot negotiate with a ‘masked' group that has been blacklisted as a terrorist organisation.

In 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan challenged Boko Haram to identify themselves and spell out their demands as a basis for dialogue.

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has ruled out dialogue with Boko Haram

Jonathan said there was no doubt that Boko Haram had links with other Jihadist groups outside Nigeria, adding that if they did not identify themselves, talks were impossible.

Violence linked to Boko Haram's insurgency has left some 3,000 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces.

The group's deadliest attack yet occurred in Kano in January 2012, when coordinated bombings and shootings killed at least 185 people.

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