Extremists blamed for the deaths of hundreds

SECURITY experts believe the two men had been seized by a faction of a radical Muslim sect.

The north of Nigeria has been plagued by violence orchestrated by Boko Haram, which has links to the al-Qaeda network, over the last two years.

The extremist group has been blamed for almost daily attacks, including shootings and bombings, that have killed hundreds of Nigerian people.

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The death toll has dramatically increased as attacks by the group have become more sophisticated and co-ordinated.

Yesterday, Boko Haram insurgents also attacked a police station and two banks in the north of the country, leaving seven dead.

The group has been accused for organising two mass prison breaks since September 2010 – freeing more than 800 inmates.

Boko Haram’s activities have contributed to the wavering instability of the country in the last few years.

Recently the group, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege”, has been waging a bloody fight against Nigeria’s central government. Western analysts say Boko Haram has had contacts with two other al-Qaeda influenced groups in Africa. However, they say the sect has splintered, with one wing now willing to use extreme violence.

The two deaths are the first known case of a potential Boko Haram cell killing a foreign hostage.