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Army: Police, sect members die in Nigeria shootout

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December 11, 2012 02:40 AM EST | AP


MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Nigeria's army says a local police chief and 14 suspected radical Islamist sect members have died in a shootout in Nigeria's besieged northeast.

An army spokesman said Tuesday that Boko Haram gunmen engaged police and the army in an hours-long gun battle in the city of Potiskum starting late Sunday night.

Lieutenant Eli Lazarus said the assailants launched their attack by bombing a police station and a bank.

Boko Haram is waging a campaign of killings that has left more than 770 people dead in Nigeria this year alone according to an Associated Press count.

Nigeria's government has failed to stop the violence. Rights groups and the U.S. government have said it is likely exacerbating the crisis by using excessive force and endangering civilians.