LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Mortuary records from a single hospital are shedding stark light on Nigeria's escalating war with Islamic militants.
The hospital is located in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram (BOH'-koh hah-RAHM'), the movement fighting to uproot Western cultural influences from a country shared almost equally by Muslims and Christians.
The records obtained by The Associated Press show the number of detainees who died in military custody more than tripled to nearly 1,800 in June, the first month of a state of emergency in Nigeria's troubled northeast region. That figure is much larger than the estimated number of Boko Haram fighters.
An AP count puts the death toll from reported Boko Haram attacks in the first six months of the year at 400 civilians.
Nigerian government and military officials have refused to comment, and it's impossible to know how many of those who died in custody had Boko Haram connections.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram has done much to alienate public opinion. Its fighters are suspected of gunning down dozens of schoolchildren, some as they sat at their desks writing exams and others burned alive in boarding school dormitories.
APPHOTO NY134: FILE - In this file picture dated Friday, April. 19, 2013 and provided by Amnesty International, bodies of civilians detained by Nigerian security forces as alleged members or associates of Boko haram terrorist network deposited by soldiers outside Sani Abacha Teaching Hospital morgue in Damaturu. 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. (AP Photo/Amnesty International, File) (19 Apr 2013)
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