Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - At least 40 people, including soldiers and policemen, died in Monday's gun and bomb attack perpetrated by suspected members of the Islamic sect Boko Haram in Damaturu, capital of northern Yobe state, the local media reported Wednesday, quoting hospital sources.
The report said 40 corpses had been deposited at the morgue of the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in the city as at Tuesday evening.
It said the number of the dead could rise since the security agencies combing the city for victims of the attack have yet to conclude their work.
“We also have many people with critical wounds at the accident and emergency ward. Some are in need of blood which is very scarce,” the source said.
The state government has imposed a 24-hour curfew on Damaturu after over 100 suspected Boko Haram fighters invaded the capital on Monday evening and fought prolonged street battles with soldiers of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) who are keeping the peace in the state.
The attackers fired their guns sporadically and detonated explosives that forced residents to either stay indoors or escape from the city. The blasts continued till Tuesday morning.
The private Daily Trust newspaper quoted a resident of Damaturu, Mukhtar Abubakar, as saying: “This is a depressing and pathetic moment for us. We are all traumatized …our wives and children are crying and all of us are hopeless. We pray to Almighty Allah to relieve our pains.”
Monday's attack was the third in Yobe in recent times, as Boko Haram, which abhors Western education, spread its terror campaign across the predominantly-Muslim north.
It came a day after Boko Haram suicide bombers attacked three churches in two cities in northern Kaduna state, killing over 50 people. The state has also been put under a 24-hour curfew.
Boko Haram, which launched its terror campaign in 2009 following the killing of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, has so far killed over 1,200 people, according to Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Oluseyin Petinrin.
-0- PANA SEG 20June2012