Apr 23, 2:45 PM EDT

Islamic militants detained in central Nigeria

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LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigeria's military says it has detained extremist suspects in the central-east state of Taraba, strengthening fears that the country's Islamic uprising is spreading.

A Defense Ministry statement Wednesday said one of the detainees confessed to belonging to the Boko Haram terrorist network. It says "a group of terrorists operating under the guise of herdsmen" engaged troops in a battle in which several were killed.

Three weeks ago the governor of Benue state, which borders Taraba to the south, charged suspected Islamic extremists were responsible for increasingly deadly attacks there being blamed on Fulani herders.

The reports contradict government assurances that the insurgents were being contained in the northeast corner.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for last week's massive explosion in Abuja, the capital in central Nigeria, which killed 75 people.

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