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Fighters in Nigeria attack school, kill 9 pupils

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Suspected Islamic militants opened fire on students taking exams at a school in Nigeria’s troubled northeast, killing at least nine pupils in the latest violence to wrack the volatile region, witnesses said Tuesday.

Bodies of the children were brought to the local morgue, according to a hospital official who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

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Monday’s attack at Ansarudeen Private School in Maiduguri marked the second time in days that suspected radical fighters have attacked schools. The military reported that 13 people, including high school students and teachers, were killed Sunday night during a five-hour shootout when extremists attacked a boarding school in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state.

A student who survived that attack by hiding under a dormitory bed said dozens of fighters who identified themselves as Boko Haram — which means ‘‘Western education is sacrilege’’ — ordered students to take them to the teachers’ quarters, where they opened fire on teachers and students.

Military spokesman Lieutenant Eli Lazarus said seven students, two teachers, two soldiers, and two militants were killed in the attack and that three soldiers were critically injured. He said several militants also were captured.

In another attack Monday, suspected extremists gunned down a group of fishermen on a river bank in Alau, located 20 kilometers outside Maiduguri. Most of the victims were relatives of people who have been arresting Boko Haram members.

Islamic militants have killed more than 1,600 civilians in suicide bombings and other attacks since 2010, according to an AP count. Dozens of civilians also have been killed by soldiers, according to human rights groups — a charge the military denies.

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