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article imageScores of civilians killed as Nigerian militants massacre village

By Nathan Salant     May 8, 2014 in World
Abuja - Islamic militants massacred scores of civilians Wednesday in a village used by Nigerian soldiers searching for hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls.
At least 150 people were killed, some burned alive, in a brazen attack blamed on Boko Haram, the militant group fighting to install an Islamic government in northern Nigeria.
Some observers said the death toll in Gamboru Ngala could go as high as 300 or more, according to Cable News Network (CNN).
Boko Haram is blamed for last month's attack on a Chibok school in which hundreds of young girls were taken hostage.
Nigerian authorities have been unable to find the girls despite what President Goodluck Jonathan has described as an all-out effort.
Jonathan has solicited, and received, promises of additional support from the United States, China and Great Britain, CNN said.
Boko Haram's attack on the village came early Wednesday afternoon, after Nigerian troops in the area were summoned to the border with Chad in response to a false report that the kidnapped girls had been found, CNN said.
The few troops that remained in the village were forced to flee as attackers wearing military uniforms drove into Gamboru Ngala's outdoor market and opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.
Some marketgoers who tried to duck into shops were burned alive when the gunmen set fire to some of the businesses, witnesses said.
The attackers also launched an assault on the town's police station but, after facing resistance, ended up blowing the roof off the building and the killing 14 officers inside.
US officials told CNN that Boko Haram millitants are affiliated and trained by al-Qaida.
The attack on Gamboru Ngala was consistent with Boko Haram's pattern of taking revenge against anyone believed to have aided Nigeria's government, CNN said.
US officials also said they were proceeding with efforts to establish a coordination center out of the US Embassy in Abuja, the capital, to provide law enforcement and hostage negotiation support to Nigeria.
Military personnel also will be included, CNN said, but not US troops.
Nigerian authorities have offered a reward of more than $300,000 for information leading to the rescue of the girls, CNN said.
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