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Terrorists kill 19 at checkpoint in Nigeria

| Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

DAMATURU, Nigeria — Islamist Boko Haram militants disguised as soldiers killed 19 people at a checkpoint on Sunday, mostly by slitting their throats, witnesses said.

Survivor Adamu Mallam, a trader, was hauled out of his vehicle and saw two other people shot dead by men dressed in military uniforms.

“They made me lie face down on the ground. I was next to be killed,” he said, voice trembling. “I heard a man close to me screaming. They slaughtered him with a knife.”

One of the attackers received a phone call and they all rode off on motorbikes, Mallam and another trader said. They set five trucks ablaze during the assault, Mallam said.

“I suspect they were alerted to a security presence so had to flee. That call saved our lives,” said the other trader, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.

Militant group Boko Haram has been fighting for more than four years to try to revive old Islamic kingdoms in religiously mixed Nigeria. It remains the top security threat to Africa's leading energy producer despite an all-out military offensive against it ordered by President Goodluck Jonathan in May.

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