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Nigerian extremists strike villages, 48 dead

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Red Cross personnel search for body parts at the site of one of Tuesday’s car bomb in Jos, Nigeria, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Tuesday, killing over 100 people, wounding dozens and leaving bloodied bodies amid the flaming debris. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs. But they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls last month and has repeatedly targeted bus stations and other locations where large numbers of people gather in its campaign to impose Islamic law on Nigeria. The second blast came half an hour after the first, killing some of the rescue workers who had rushed to the scene, which was obscured by billows of black smoke. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Red Cross personnel search for body parts at the site of one of Tuesday’s car bomb in Jos, Nigeria, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Tuesday, killing over 100 people, wounding dozens and leaving bloodied bodies amid the flaming debris. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs. But they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls last month and has repeatedly targeted bus stations and other locations where large numbers of people gather in its campaign to impose Islamic law on Nigeria. The second blast came half an hour after the first, killing some of the rescue workers who had rushed to the scene, which was obscured by billows of black smoke. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Red Cross personnel search for remains at the site of one of Tuesday’s car bomb in Jos, Nigeria, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Tuesday, killing over 100 people, wounding dozens and leaving bloodied bodies amid the flaming debris. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs. But they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls last month and has repeatedly targeted bus stations and other locations where large numbers of people gather in its campaign to impose Islamic law on Nigeria. The second blast came half an hour after the first, killing some of the rescue workers who had rushed to the scene, which was obscured by billows of black smoke. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

People gather at the site of one of Tuesday’s car bombs in Jos, Nigeria, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Tuesday, killing over 100 people, wounding dozens and leaving bloodied bodies amid the flaming debris. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs. But they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls last month and has repeatedly targeted bus stations and other locations where large numbers of people gather in its campaign to impose Islamic law on Nigeria. The second blast came half an hour after the first, killing some of the rescue workers who had rushed to the scene, which was obscured by billows of black smoke. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

People walk past the remains of one of Tuesday’s car bombs in Jos, Nigeria, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Tuesday, killing over 100 people, wounding dozens and leaving bloodied bodies amid the flaming debris. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs. But they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls last month and has repeatedly targeted bus stations and other locations where large numbers of people gather in its campaign to impose Islamic law on Nigeria. The second blast came half an hour after the first, killing some of the rescue workers who had rushed to the scene, which was obscured by billows of black smoke. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Red Cross personnel search for remains at the site of one of Tuesday’s car bomb in Jos, Nigeria, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market in Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Tuesday, killing over 100 people, wounding dozens and leaving bloodied bodies amid the flaming debris. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the twin car bombs. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

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JOS, Nigeria (AP) — Islamic militants killed 48 villagers in northeastern Nigeria near the town where they kidnapped 300 schoolgirls, and the U.S. said Wednesday it was sending in 80 military personnel to expand the drone search for the captives.

The developments came hours after twin car bombings claimed at least 130 lives in this central city — an escalating campaign of violence blamed on the Boko Haram terrorist network and its drive to impose an Islamic state on Nigeria.

The three villages attacked overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday are near the town of Chibok, where the girls were abducted from their boarding school in a brazen April 15 assault that has ignited a global movement to secure their freedom.

First lady Michelle Obama is among those who have joined a viral social media campaign under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, tweeting earlier this month, “Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families. It’s time to #BringBackOurGirls.”

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. was sending in 80 military personnel to help in the search for the missing schoolgirls. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and the Senate, Obama said the service members were

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