Gunmen suspected to be members dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram stormed a military barracks in Borno State on Friday, spraying gunfire on the troops inside before torching the compound, the army and residents told AFP.
The military has reportedly deployed fighter jets and ground forces in pursuit of the gunmen, presumed to be Boko Haram members, who have killed thousands in the region during a four-year uprising.
“There was an attack on the military barracks in (the town) of Bama this morning,” said Mohammed Dole, army spokesman in Borno State.
He declined to comment on details provided by several Bama residents who said dozens, or perhaps even hundreds, of insurgents swarmed the barracks in a convoy of 4X4 trucks, armed with assault rifles, explosives and rocket-propelled-grenades.
“It started at around three in the morning with huge explosions and the cracking of gunfire,” said Bama resident Abdullahi Idris. “Later we saw plumes of smoke and fire from the barracks.”
Bama has become a flashpoint in the insurgency and the scene of several bold Islamist attacks. One of the Islamist rebels’ largest-ever strikes targeted the military in Bama in June.
Meanwhile President Goodluck Jonathan Friday held an emergency meeting with Service Chiefs over the latest Boko Haram’s attacks in Bama, Borno State and other security issues in the country.