The Gombe State Government has imposed a 24-hour curfew in Gombe metropolis area of the state after a fierce attack by member of the Boko Haram in the early hours of Saturday.
The imposition of the curfew was announced by the Secretary to the State Government, Abubakar Sule Bage, during a press briefing.
Gombe, the state capital, today experienced the first broad daylight attack carried out by suspected Boko Haram militants, who have been launching series of attack on innocent civilians and security forces in the troubled north-east geopolitical region of Nigeria.
Residents told Channels Television that the insurgents have carried out an early morning attack on Hina and Dadin-Kowa communities of Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of the state, before extending the attack to Gombe metropolis.
Witnesses also said the quarter guard of the military barracks located in the heart of the town was attacked and burnt by the insurgents after which the attack was repelled by security forces.
It was also revealed to Channels Television that the terrorists group circulated a letter, warning people of the state not to come out for the 2015 general elections.
It was also gathered that an air force fighter jet that was deployed to the troubled area assisted in repelling the attack.
Dadin-Kowa residents also said the insurgents who are within town are chanting war songs and warning residents not to come out for the proposed elections.
The spokesman for the Police in Gombe State, Mr Fwaji Atajiri, confirmed the attack.
He told Channels Television that the security forces were working towards restoring peace in the troubled Gombe metropolis and environs.
Gombe state is one of the troubled north-east states of Nigeria, with prevailing cases of Boko Haram insurgency with ceaseless cases of attacks around the northern and eastern parts of the state bordering Yobe and Borno States respectively.
In earlier reports, Reuters quoted a witness, Abdul Hassan, as saying that soldiers ran away after the checkpoint was overwhelmed. The militants then burned down a police station on the outskirts of town, he said.
“I crossed a river and ran into the hills,” he said. “I’m still there and I can hear the fighting.”
Other residents have been forced to stay indoors, with another witness, Hussaina Maji, saying she was unable to leave her house for fear of being caught in crossfire.
“There are gun shot sounds everywhere and heavy artillery fire. People are running down the streets from the area which under attack, The whole town is in a state of panic,” resident Godfret Obeate told Reuters by telephone.
Security authorities have not confirmed the attack and the number of casualties is unknown.
The Boko Haram sect has continued to attack communities in the north-east region of Nigeria, as it pushes for an Islamic state, posing a grave security threat to Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer.
Thousands have been killed while hundreds have been kidnapped, with the group increasing its threats in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
The countries have formed a Multinational Joint Force to battle the insurgents.
Could Not Guarantee Voters’ Safety
Nigeria’s general elections was last week postponed, with the electoral body citing security operative’s advice and request for a shift to enable them secure towns in the north-east before the elections.
The military had told the Independent National electoral Commission that it could not guarantee the safety of lives and property in the region during elections, demanding for six weeks to degrade the activities of the terrorist group.
On Thursday, the West African Allied Forces led by the Nigerian military, supported by Chad, Niger and Cameroon, stormed the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, killing a good number of insurgents.
A top military source told Channels Television that the air forces bombarded the insurgents, before ground forces moved in and incapacitated the insurgents.
Already the insurgents have been pushed out of Gamboru which lies on the Nigerian border with Cameroon.
Boko Haram attacked a village in Chad on Friday, the first known lethal attack in that country by the sect, which killed several people including a local chief according to residents and security forces.