Suspected Boko Haram Islamist militants attacked northeastern Nigeria’s Yobe state capital Damaturu on Monday and a Nigerian air force jet was flying over the city, residents said.
A witness said the insurgents stormed the city at dawn arriving from the town of Buni Yadi, which has been a local stronghold for months.
“The insurgents stormed the town at about 5.30 a.m. this morning from Gujba road, south east of the state capital and went straight to launch an attack on a mobile police base,” the witness said.
Resident Mustapha Usman said he heard gunfire and explosions from about 6 a.m. (0500 GMT) and that was still going on.
“I saw a military jet circling three times. People have abandoned their vehicles on the road and gone home,” Usman said by phone from Damaturu.
Authorities were not immediately available to comment.
Another witness, Mike David, said the militants were shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and shooting at random.
Boko Haram is a Sunni jihadist group that has waged a 5-year insurgency with the aim of establishing an Islamic caliphate in the country’s north.
The group launched several major attacks in the last week. On Friday, at least 100 people were killed and 135 wounded after a coordinated attack in the central mosque of the country’s second biggest city, Kano.
President Goodluck Jonathan has asked the national assembly to extend the state of emergency, which expired on Nov. 20, but no decision has yet been reached.
Yobe is one of three northeastern states under emergency rule along with Borno and Adamawa. (Reporting by Eleazu Ambrose)