Suspected Boko Haram insurgents on Monday attacked Damaturu, Yobe State capital, with many residents in the Gujba Road area of the city said to have been woken up by the sound of gunshots and explosions.
“I was woken by huge blasts and the sound of heavy gunfire around the Mobile Police barracks. The gunmen came in numbers. They burnt down the Police barracks. They are now advancing towards two housing estates. We have left our homes. We are now in the bush. We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Umar Sada, a resident of Gujba Road area told Vanguard.
Yobe State Police Commissioner, Marcus Danladi confirmed the attack. He told newsmen that they were dealing with a “serious situation”.
Vigilantes in the city however claimed that more than 40 Boko Haram fighters were killed.
The military has responded with a counterattack, as troops exchanged fire with the terrorists and air force jets were seen bombarding them.
The civilian death toll was said to have been low as the attacks in Damaturu were targeted at Police and military formations and also, the military did their best to secure civilians before repelling the Boko Haram attack.
“The Police Mobile Base in Damaturu was one of the security formations that came under attack by insurgents,” Vanguard quoted Mallam Usmanu Iliya, a resident, as saying.
One rescue official said that five people had died and 47 were injured. But one witness at the scene, Goni Abba, said he counted “10 dead bodies”.
The Defence headquarters in a tweet posted on its handle said the Nigerian troops while carrying out the onslaught, ensured that innocent and panic-stricken citizens were spared the agony of collateral damage.
“Troops backed by the Airforce are carefully engaging terrorists who attacked the town in the early hours of today (yesterday).
“The approach is to secure the civilian population while repelling or apprehending the terrorists.”