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Attack on Nigerian police leaves two officers dead

LAGOS, Nigeria — Gunmen attacked a major police station near Nigeria’s capital Monday that holds members of a radical Islamist sect, freeing prisoners and killing two police officers in the latest assault on the nation’s beleaguered security forces.

The attack on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad’s station near Abuja came as the death toll for suicide car bombings Sunday at a major military base rose to at least 30 people killed, a hospital official said.

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While the sect known as Boko Haram has yet to claim the attacks, both strikes bear similarities to other assaults carried out by a group the Nigerian government seems unable to stop.

The attack on the police station began around 2 a.m. Monday, with a ‘‘large number’’ of gunmen killing the officers and allowing about 30 prisoners inside the facility to escape, federal police spokesman Frank Mba said. Two suspected gunmen were arrested after the attack and 25 of the prisoners have been captured, Mba said.

Authorities said none of those who escaped were terrorism suspects and that the five still at large were being held on suspicion of being armed robbers.

An investigation into the attack has begun, Mba said, while the nation’s top police commander has ordered ‘‘water-tight security around all government and police-related facilities nationwide.’’

The robbery squad’s station has come under international scrutiny after Amnesty International published a report this month describing the facility as a former slaughterhouse where chains still hang from the ceiling.

Amnesty’s report, which included allegations of Boko Haram suspects being abused and held indefinitely without charges, estimated more than 100 suspected sect members are held at the station.

At the time of the report’s release, police officials said they would investigate Amnesty’s claims.

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