Clashes between soldiers and members of Islamist sect
Boko Haram have killed 18 people in northeast Nigeria, a
military source and officials said.
Boko Haram, which wants to impose Islamic law in Nigeria's
north, and other spin-off Islamist groups have become the
biggest threat to stability in Africa's top oil exporter.
Suspected members of Boko Haram killed 11 people in an attack
on Damboa town in Borno state on Thursday, shooting at
soldiers, burning shops and killing civilians, a military
source said, asking not to be named because he was not
authorised to give official statements.
"More troops have been dispatched to the area to confront the
insurgents. They sneaked away towards the bush leading to
parts of Yobe and Gombe States," the source said.
Around 50 gunmen in cars and motorbikes stormed the rural
town, forcing hundreds of residents to flee to hide in nearby
farms, locals said.
In neighbouring Gombe state, police officers killed seven
members of Boko Haram in a two-hour gun fight in the early
hours of Friday, Gombe Police Spokesman Fwaje Atajiri told
President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in
mid-May and launched an offensive against the group in its
stronghold in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the
The insurgency was initially weakened but remains active and
there has been an uptick in violence in the past month.
Boko Haram's main targets are security forces or government
officials. It has also carried out several attacks on
Christian and Muslim worshippers, as well as schools and