Unspecified numbers of persons were feared dead yesterday morning when suspected Boko Haram insurgents, who disguised as traders, stormed a market in Damasak town, headquarters of Mobbar local government area of Borno state.
This came barely four days after a similar incident in which the militants invaded Baga town and killed 48 fish vendors.
Similarly, last week, the Boko Haram assailants killed nearly 100 people in separate attacks in Mafa and Kukawa local government areas.
Our correspondent reported that Damasak, which is a farming and fishing community, is located along the Nigeria-Niger border. It is also among the few local government areas which had not suffered Boko Haram attacks for the past two years.
A top security source, who declined identification, confirmed the incident to newsmen, saying that federal troops have quickly arrived at the market and engaged the attackers in a gun-duel.
Details of the number of casualty was not yet clear at the time of filing this report, but sources said the insurgents went to the centre of the market before they brandished their assault rifles.
However, there were conflicting reports over the incident, as other sources claimed that the invaders have so far captured the town after overpowering the security operatives in a gun battle.
It was gathered that after sensing imminent defeat, the soldiers hurriedly retreated and crossed over into the territory of Niger Republic for safety.
Another version had it that both the military and the insurgents recorded casualty, besides many civilians killed by the militants.
Similarly, thousands of residents who managed to escape the attack have crossed over to other villages in Niger Republic for safety.
An indigene of the area, who resides in Maiduguri but declined identification, told newsmen that the town is now deserted, with few women, children and the old, who were unable to flee still living there.
“The attack on the market started around 11a.m., when trading activities have commenced as some of the militants, who pretended to be traders, covered their rifles inside Toyota Hi-lux vans as if they brought goods. They then suddenly unveiled the weapons and started firing into the crowd.
Few minutes later, the attack intensified, as other insurgents who stayed outside the town also begun attacking people inside their houses and those on their way to the market”, he said.
No official could be reached for comments as at the time of filing the report.