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Suspected Boko Haram attack in northern Nigeria kills 11

Published: Updated:

Suspected Boko Haram Islamists have stormed a town in northeast Nigeria, opened fire on police and civilians and killed 11 people, residents and a local lawmaker told AFP Friday.

The attack happened late Thursday in the town of Damboa in Borno state, Boko Haram’s stronghold and where Nigeria has imposed a state of emergency as it pursues an offensive against the insurgent group.

“The attack lasted until about midnight,” said Adamu Isah, a student who lives in Damboa. He said groups of gunmen opened fire on police and civilians and that “11 people died.”

He blamed the attack on “Boko Haram” fighters.

State lawmaker Ayamu Lawan Gwasha, who represents Damboa, confirmed the details, as did a local security official who requested anonymity.

Both Isah and the lawmaker spoke to reporters in Borno’s capital Maiduguri, roughly 85 kilometers (52 miles) from Damboa. Both said they had fled to the capital after the attack.

Details were slow to emerge and the area military spokesman could not be reached for comment because of a phone blackout imposed by the military, an operational measure meant to block the Islamists from coordinating attacks.

The phones have been down in Borno since May, when the state of emergency was declared.