Suspected Boko Haram militants attacked the northeastern Nigerian town of Damaturu early Monday, forcing residents to flee the area, local media reports said. Explosions and gunfire were reportedly heard in some parts of the city, which is the capital of Yobe state.
The attack targeted a mobile police base on the outskirts of Damaturu, The Associated Press (AP) reported. The assailants, believed to be from the Islamist militant group, also reportedly attacked some schools and a university. The attack reportedly forced residents out of their homes and attempt an escape to nearby towns. A government official, who said that the attack started before dawn, reportedly described witnessing “chaos” across Damaturu, which lies about 83 miles west of Maiduguri, the capital and largest city in Borno state.
"The military jet has to be deployed to push the insurgents back as the situation is now under control and the entire town has been cordoned off," a security source said, according to This Day Live, a local newspaper. "The casualties cannot be counted now but it is massive, the insurgents were overwhelmed and they suffered a lot of deaths but few police officers and civilians were also killed in the crossfire."
The latest attack comes after the extremist group was blamed for a bombing at the main mosque in northern Kano, the country’s second-largest city, on Friday in which at least 102 people were killed and more than 150 were injured. At least two car bombs exploded outside the Nigerian mosque and gunfire was heard after the blasts.
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned Friday’s attack vowing to do everything possible to bring an end to the bloodshed that has intensified, mainly in the country's north, after the militant group became active in 2009.
According to a June 2014 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service, Boko Haram has so far claimed the lives of at least 5,000 people, making it one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world.