At least 20 people, including 15 suspected Boko Haram militants and five civilians, died Sunday in a fresh attack by the armed Islamic sect in a sleepy town in Nigeria's northeastern Maiduin Borno state, Xinhua reported citing an army official said.
The attack took place at Damboa, 87 km from Maiduguri, Borno state's capital, around 4.30 a.m., acting spokesman of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Aliyu Danja, said in a statement reaching Xinhua.
"The terrorists, whose strength is unknown, sneaked into the town at about 4.30 a.m., attacked worshippers in a mosque and killed five of them who came to say their morning prayers," Danja said.
He said the insurgents burnt down the palace of the local chief, his house and some shops around the area but said some army troops intercepted the insurgents and engaged them in a shootout, leading to the death of 15 of the attackers while others fled in disarray.
"Fifteen Boko Haram terrorists were killed in the early hours of today when troops of 21 Brigade under 7 Division encountered Boko Haram terrorists in Damboa Local Government area of Borno State," he added.
"While they were unleashing their mayhem, troops under the 7 Division engaged the terrorists killing 15 in the process while others fled in disarray. Efforts are on to trace and destroy the feeling terrorists," he said.
He said one rocket-propelled grenade tube, two rocket-propelled grenade bombs, five AK 47 rifles, a pickup van and assorted ammunition were recovered from the scene of the shootout.
He urged residents to be conscious of strange movement of persons around their localities and assured the army's commitment "to bring Boko Haram menace to an end".
Attacks have been on rise in recent months in Borno, a state bordering Cameroon, Niger and Chad, where the threat from Al Qaeda's north African branch AQIM is looming.
The Boko Haram sect seeks to enshrine the Islamic sharia law into the constitution and has declared war against Western education.