Nigerian authorities slapped a round-the-clock curfew on Damaturu Tuesday as fresh gunfire rocked the restive northeastern city, officials and residents said.
“In view of the prevailing security situation in the state capital, (the governor) has approved the immediate imposition of a 24-hour curfew within Damaturu metropolis,” said a government statement.
Residents reported being confined to their homes and offices due to the continuing gunfire in the Yobe State capital, which has previously been hit by Boko Haram Islamists.
The extremist group claimed suicide attacks at three churches in Kaduna state on Sunday that killed at least 16 people and sparked reprisal violence by Christian mobs who killed dozens more, burning some of their victims' corpses.
A senior official at a Damaturu hospital told AFP that the gunfire which broke out on Monday has caused casualties, but that the streets were too dangerous for rescue workers to move around.
“We have been holed up in the hospital since yesterday. We can’t leave because it is not safe to go out. The morgue is empty now although there are dead bodies on the street,” said the official, who requested anonymity.
“Fighting is still going on in some parts of the city and the streets are totally deserted.”
Colonel Dahiru Abdussalam, commander of a military task force in Yobe State, said the latest Damaturu unrest started Monday after authorities arrested a Boko Haram suspect, prompting other members of the group to respond by setting off explosives and shooting indiscriminately.