At least 30 Nigerian security personnel have been killed in an ambush by a local militia in the country’s central Nasarawa state, officials said.

The victims were among the nearly 60 officers, who were on a mission to arrest the leader of the Ombatse cult when its gunmen opened fire at them, Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa state Abayomi Akeremale told reporters in Abuja on Thursday.

Apart from the deceased, Akeremale said 17 officers were still missing after the ambush.

The group was “outlawed” as its members go to churches and mosques to force people to take an oath to adhere to the group and its teachings.

The attack came a few days after the militants of radical Islamic sect Boko Haram attacked an army base, a police station and prison in Bama and Bankai towns in Nigeria’s northern state of Borno leaving 55 people dead.

Boko Haram has been a major terrorist group in Nigeria which has killed thousands through suicide attacks, bombings and shootings.

The group wants to install an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, an oil rich African country with a population of 150 million people equally shared between the two major religions, Islam and Christianity.

More In: World | International | News