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Deaths of Nigerian detainees escalate

| Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 9:42 p.m.

LAGOS, Nigeria — Shedding stark light on Nigeria's escalating war with Islamic militants, mortuary records from a single Nigerian hospital show the number of detainees who died in military custody more than tripled in June — the first month of a state of emergency in the troubled northeast region.

Overall, the records obtained by The Associated Press for the nine months from Oct. 5, 2012 to July 5, 2013, indicate that the military is killing thousands in its crackdown on the uprising in northeast Nigeria.

The records cover just one hospital, Sani Abacha Specialist Teaching Hospital in Maiduguri. The city is the birthplace of Boko Haram, the movement fighting to uproot Western cultural influences from a country shared almost equally by Muslims and Christians. In the 30 days before the state of emergency was declared on May 14, the military delivered 380 bodies. In the 30 days after, the number was 1,321.

For June, the number was 1,795— the worst month in the records seen by the AP, which witnessed many of the bodies delivered to the hospital in military ambulances, escorted by armored cars.

The figure is much larger than the estimated number of Boko Haram fighters.

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