Gunfire and explosions broke out in the troubled northeastern Nigerian city of Damaturu on Saturday, shortly after a dusk-to-dawn curfew came into force, residents said.
“Explosions and gunshots have been going on in this neighbourhood for over an hour,” said Abdullahi Musa, a civil servant. “We still don’t know what the target is because the shooting started shortly after curfew,” he added.
Another resident of the same area, a neighbourhood called Nyanya, offered a similar account.
“We are frightened due to the blasts and gunfire. We don’t know what is happening because we are indoors… We pray we stay safe,” said Safiya Mahmud, a housewife.
Separate attacks were also reported in two other Damaturu neighbourhoods, but details were not immediately available.
Nigerian authorities on June 19 slapped a round-the-clock curfew on Damaturu, capital of Yobe state, after suspected Boko Haram Islamists launched coordinated gun attacks on targets around the city.
The curfew was relaxed after soldiers and police reclaimed control of the streets in an offensive that left at least 40 people dead, including 34 alleged Boko Haram members.
Northeastern Nigeria has repeatedly been hit by the radical Islamist group, who regularly target the police and are responsible for more than 1,000 deaths since the middle of 2009.
The newly appointed National Security Adviser,Col Sambo Dasuki visited the city and Maiduguri,capital of nearby Borno state, canvassing for peace and dialogue.
Both Damaturu and Maiduguri have witnessed a lot of violence from the Boko Haram sect and the counter-insurgency by Nigerian soldiers.