Another Borno State town has been taken by the Boko Haram sect, it was learnt yesterday.
An unknown number of people were killed when sect members invaded Damasak at dawn yesterday.
Damasak is an isolated town on the border with Niger Republic. It is 116 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.
According to Senator Maina Lawan, eyewitnesses said the attackers arrived with improvised explosive devices and petrol bombs in a convoy of Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles.
No fewer than 300 soldiers guarding the town were said to have retreated.
A military source said the insurgents attacked the town on Friday but failed, losing some men. They, however, returned on Monday.
The source said: “When they attacked on Friday, we were able to fight them back forcing them to retreat. We were also able to capture one of their buffalo vehicles as they did not know what hit them.”
The situation is ongoing and the picture confusing, the source added.
Other witnesses told French News Agency (AFP) that the militants entered the town, disguised as soldiers before attacking traders in the market. Government official Mohammed Damasak said the group concealed their weapons in containers before opening fire.
“They pretended to be traders but sadly inflicted horror,” said Damasak. “Many traders escaped with bullet wounds while many are lying dead at the market.”
According to Reuters, the militants continued to prowl the town hours after the initial attack, despite the fact government soldiers have now reached the scene.
A witness, Bukar Aji, told Reuters from the village: “The insurgents came at about 9.00 am and fired shots into houses to force people out. They are still there up till now and still firing shots. Many people may have died. I am talking to you now from the bush.”
The attack on Damasak is the third in under a week in Borno. Last Thursday, the sect’s members ambushed 48 fishermen and killed them by tying them up and throwing them into Lake Chad.