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Boko Haram warns of election-day attacks

Published:Sunday | February 15, 2015 | 2:00 AM

BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP):

Nigeria's military last Friday repelled an attack on a northeastern town by Boko Haram Islamic extremists who, as they retreated, warned residents not to participate in the country's elections in March.

Two air force jets joined soldiers in attacking the rebels after they assaulted Gombe in the morning.

The Boko Haram fighters left in a convoy of vehicles carrying dozens of corpses, according to residents.

"They were heard telling our people in the villages leading to Gombe that they have not come to harm civilians, but the security agents. They were also dropping copies of papers with messages written in Hausa warning people not to participate in the coming elections, lest they risk being killed," said resident Malam Hassan.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the message, in which Boko Haram warned that its fighters would attack all polling stations in the March 28 elections. The Boko Haram paper also said residents should not assist the army and pledged not to attack those who stayed out of its fight against the government.

"We are calling on you all to come and join us in the Jihad and embrace Islamic Sharia jurisprudence," said the papers dropped by Boko Haram.

Gombe has previously been attacked multiple times, including by a car bomb in December that killed at least 20 people.

Boko Haram Islamic extremist insurgency killed 10,000 people last year, compared to 2,000 in the four previous years, according to the United States Council on Foreign Relations.