By CHINEDU ASADU
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s military says it lost 36 soldiers in attacks blamed on armed gangs in the country’s northern region. The soldiers died Monday in the northcentral Niger state after they were ambushed by the gangs of bandits and after their helicopter crashed, a Nigerian defense spokesman told reporters on Thursday. The official said the cause of the crash is being investigated though residents earlier told The Associated Press it was shot down by the bandits. The military spokesman says security forces remain committed to restoring peace in violent northern hotspots.