In fierce fighting Sunday, Nigerian troops clashed with Islamic extremists who attacked Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeastern Nigeria. Dozens of combatants have been killed and wounded, soldiers and hospital workers said. At the same time the insurgents continued scorched-earth attacks on villages some 200 kilometers (125 miles) to the south in Adamawa state,
slitting throats of residents, looting and burning homes and abducting dozens of trapped women and children, according to Vandu Kainu and other escaping survivors. The attacks come as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital nearly 1,000 miles (more than 1,500 kilometers) southwest of Maiduguri, for meetings with President Goodluck Jonathan and his chief rival over fears of violence around critical Feb. 14 elections.