Gunfights and attacks between suspected Islamists and security forces in a north-eastern Nigerian town have killed several people and destroyed buildings, residents and authorities said on Friday, while unrest also hit another city, a French News Agency reported.
Explosions and gunfire shook the city of Potiskum, sparking chaos and panic, from late Thursday, residents and security forces disclosed. Several deaths were reported as well as schools and a government building burnt.
In Maiduguri, base of Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, gunfire and several explosions could be heard on Friday, an AFP correspondent said.
Police said they were seeking to restore calm in Potiskum and clear unexploded bombs on Friday, while some of the ordnance was still detonating.
“There are so many bombs here and there, and I can’t give you the casualty figure now, because our men are still in the field to restore calm,” said Patrick Egbuniwe, police commissioner for Yobe State.
A military source said some houses had been destroyed with home-made bombs and a security checkpoint was attacked, but he also could not give a death toll yet. He said Boko Haram was suspected to be behind the violence.
“I cannot ascertain as of now how many people were killed, apart from the one that I know who was shot at the checkpoint,” the military source told AFP.
Soldiers have often responded brutally to attacks in the past, and have often been accused of killing innocent civilians, it was however not clear if troops were the cause of any of the destruction in Potiskum.
Two residents of Potiskum spoke of seeing a number of bodies, while one said several schools were burnt, including an Islamic seminary.
North-eastern Nigera has been the hardest hit by terror attacks in Nigeria. Boko Haram, the group behind most of the attacks, has claimed to be seeking an Islamic state in Nigeria, a country divided between a mainly Muslim North and predominantly Christian South.