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Nigeria gets new defense minister

Thursday - 3/6/2014, 9:00am  ET

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- Nigeria's president has appointed a retired general from the mainly Muslim north to be the new minister of defense as the country confronts an increasing number of ever-deadlier attacks by Islamic extremists staging an uprising in the northeast.

Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, a former military intelligence officer and presidential military adviser, takes the post amid mounting anger at the military's failure to suppress the rebellion. More than 300 people were killed last month and nearly 150 people this week alone.

Gusau was appointed Wednesday by President Goodluck Jonathan along with 10 other new Cabinet ministers.

The appointments come as Jonathan is believed to be positioning himself for elections next February amid defections by governing party members who say it is time for a Muslim northerner to be president.

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