Local residents said Boko Haram militants had targeted food stores in the area
LAGOS – At least 25 people were feared killed on Saturday after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked Bama town in the restive northern state of Borno.
"The terrorists launched a surprise attack on Bama in the early hours of today and killed up to 25 civilians," a military source told Anadolu Agency, asking not to be named.
"But a number of them were also killed as troops engaged them," he added.
According to the source, no soldier was killed in the attack.
"We were able to minimize the casualties even as we seized about 10 vehicle and 24 motorcycles from the terrorists," he said.
Ilyasu Bama, a resident of the boisterous commercial town, said the insurgents had targeted food stores in the area.
"It appeared that their target was to steal food stuff and rob the residents," Bama told AA by phone.
"They killed many people in the exchange of fire with the military," he said.
Bama confirmed that the militants had escaped "although not without many casualties on their own part too. And many of their motorcycles and vehicle were seized."
In December last year, the insurgents attacked a military formation in the town reportedly killing many soldiers and their family members.
The terrorists had before that launched repeated deadly attacks on Bama.
More than 1500 people have been killed this year alone in attacks blamed on Boko Haram insurgents, most of which have taken place in the northeastern Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language, first emerged in the early 2000s preaching against government misrule and corruption.
The group later became violent, however, after the death of its leader in 2009 while in police custody.
In the five years since, the shadowy sect has been blamed for numerous attacks – on places of worship and government institutions – and thousands of deaths.
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