Nigerian troops thwarted a Boko Haram attack on the northeastern city of Damaturu, killing several jihadists and seizing weapons, the army said on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s attempted raid on the capital of Yobe state was the first time since late 2014 that the insurgents had attacked the city, residents told AFP.
But army spokesman Njoka Irabor said in a statement that soldiers had “successfully laid an ambush which led to the extermination of many Boko Haram terrorists”.
“The vigilant troops effectively ambushed the criminals (a) few metres (yards) ahead of Maisandari community (on) the outskirts of the city of Damaturu,” he added.
Gun trucks and a cache of arms and ammunition were recovered, he said.
The attack followed the evacuation of some 2,000 people from Jakana village, some 90 kilometres (55 miles) from Damaturu on the road to Maiduguri, in neighbouring Borno state on Tuesday.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said troops escorted the residents to the Bakassi camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Maiduguri “for their own safety”.
Boko Haram fighters loyal to the faction headed by Abubakar Shekau launched a dawn raid on Damaturu on December 1, 2014. More than 150 people, including 38 police, were killed.
Tuesday’s attack was suspected to have been carried out by a separate faction backed by the Islamist State group.
The decade-long insurgency has killed more than 27,000 people in the northeast with 1.8 million still displaced from their homes.