The Nigerian military successfully repelled a Boko Haram attack on Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, an official has said.
There was panic in Damaturu as loud gunshots and artillery fire rented the air.
Residents rushed into their houses and businesses closed hurriedly on Sunday evening while the attack occurred.
While speaking on the attack, the spokesman of Sector II of Operation Lafiya Dole, Damaturu, Njoka Irabor, told newsmen that “the insurgents made an attempt to enter Damaturu from the northern flank of the town but were given a heavy blow by both air and ground troops.”
Mr Irabor, an army captain, said Sunday night that Damaturu was now calm and “details of the attack will be relayed by tomorrow”.
While the attack on Damaturu occurred, scores of vehicles trying to get to the town were stranded as the army blocked the roads leading into the town.
Witnesses said more than 200 vehicles were stranded including the Borno State governor’s convoy along Damaturu-Maiduguri highway.
Some journalists who were part of the governor’s convoy told newsmen that over 200 vehicles including commercial and private cars were held up at the entrance of Damaturu town at about 9 p.m.
Governor Babagana Zulum was, however, not in the convoy, which was said to be travelling to Gombe where it would be joined by the Borno governor for a tour of Southern Borno.
Travellers, who are also stranded on the road, said they have been there since 3.00 p.m. on Sunday.
“We arrived this place since 3.00 p.m. and realised that the road is closed by the soldiers. They did not give us any explanation until we started getting information that Boko Haram are trying to attack Damaturu,”.
“we are not safe staying here on this road. It’s risky for us. Can the soldiers protect us sleeping on this road,” they said on Sunday night.
A commercial driver, Abdullahi Shehu, travelling to Kaduna via Kano said most of his passengers, including children and their parents are travelling for Christmas.
Recall that the first attack occurred early last month a few days after the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, visited Yobe.
It was alleged that the insurgents wanted to steal the 30 Hilux vehicles that Yobe governor Mala Buni donated to security operatives in the state.