The attack by scores of Boko Haram militants in the northeast Nigerian town of Bama has killed 60 people and caused massive destruction to public buildings, police said Thursday.
Residents said gunmen stormed the town at roughly 4:00 am (0300 GMT) on Wednesday, armed with heavy weapons and tossed explosives into various buildings, forcing residents to flee into the surrounding bush.
“We are collating the figures and the death toll has risen to 60 from the Bama attack,” said Lawal Tanko, the police commissioner in Borno state, which is the epicentre of Boko Haram’s four-and-half-year Islamist uprising.
“The toll is likely to rise,” he said. “The attackers caused enormous destruction. They burnt down some of the major landmarks in the town including the local government secretariat,” and the palace of the area’s top cleric, Tanko added.
He said the airforce dispatched fighter jets to suppress the raid from its base in the state capital Maiduguri some 60 kilometres (40 miles) away and dropped bombs on the fleeing insurgents.
“I can’t say how many of the gunmen were killed but the number is huge,” Tanko said.