The Nigerian armed forces were ready and waiting when extremists, thought to be members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), attempted to attack Damboa in Borno state early on Friday, November 19.
A security source said the military had been alerted by informers to the attack and were waiting when the insurgents arrived.
No civilians were killed although one report said three had been wounded by stray bullets.
Usman Shettima, a resident of Damboa, told RNI reporter Fanna Usman the insurgents stormed arrived into the town at about 6am, some entering via the town of Yerwa and others through Garannam village.
Shettima said the insurgents spent only about 15 minutes in Damboa because the security forces were ready for them and soon overwhelmed them.
He said Damboa had been the site of many attacks by both ISWAP and the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād (JAS). In an attack on Tuesday, November 2, he said the insurgents had burnt houses and the offices of vigilantes.
He said he prayed to the Almighty to bring peace to Borno State, adding that it was extremely frightening to live in a place when you never knew when the next attack would occur.
One report said the insurgents had planned to attack the army base in Damboa but another suggested that they were planning to attack the rehabilitation camp where “repentant” JAS members were being held.
Security sources claimed that 11 insurgents had be “eliminated” and many had retreated with wounds.
Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement issued on Friday that the insurgents incursion had failed.
“The criminals attacked the town in the early hours of this morning through multiple flanks with [an] unconfirmed number of ISWAP foot soldiers on gun trucks. They were, however subdued by the overwhelming fire power of the vigilant troops.”
He said the troops had engaged the attackers “with high volume of fire, forcing them to withdraw in disarray”.
According to the statement, blood stains were reportedly seen on the insurgents’ withdrawal routes.