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Group attacks wedding party in Nigeria

YOLA, Nigeria — Suspected Islamic militants attacked a wedding convoy in northeast Nigeria over the weekend, the latest in a storm of violence in the region as government troops battle religious extremists bent on turning Africa’s most populous nation into an Islamic state.

Authorities on Sunday gave conflicting death tolls, ranging from five to as many as 30, including the groom.

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The attack took place Saturday on the highway between Gama and Gwoza towns in Borno state, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Muhammed Dole said. That road runs alongside forests that shelter extremists from the Boko Haram network.

Dole put the death toll at five. However, Adamawa state spokesman Ahmad Sajoh said more than 30 people, including the groom, were killed. He did not explain where his information came from, but noted that the groom and his guests were from Adamawa, which neighbors Borno state, and had been driving home.

Meanwhile, a minibus taxi driver said he passed many bodies on the road near Firgi village in Borno, where the wedding ceremony was held. Firgi is near the border with Adamawa state.

‘‘We saw a lot of dead bodies killed by gunshots and some by the roadside that appeared to have been slaughtered’’ with their throats slit, the driver, who asked to be identified only as Shaibu, told reporters Sunday in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

Boko Haram is leading an uprising aimed at installing an Islamic state in Nigeria, possibly the greatest threat in decades to the cohesion of the West African country. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer. Its population of more than 160 million people is divided almost equally between the mainly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south.

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