No fewer than 11 civilians were killed when IS-aligned jihadists invaded a town in Yobe State, AFP quoted an official and residents to have said on Saturday.
AFP reported that fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province in eight trucks fitted with machine guns stormed the town of Geidam as residents were preparing to break their Ramadan fast on Friday, leading to a gun fight with troops from a nearby base.
Ali Kolo Kachalla, Geidam political administrator, told AFP on phone that “We lost 11 people in the terrorist invasion and the gunmen are still in the town. Our people are trapped in the town and soldiers have been prevented from leaving.”
According to residents, the victims were killed when a projectile hit two adjoining homes in the Samunaka neighbourhood of the town during the fighting between troops and the militants.
A resident Babagana Kyari said: “A projectile fell on the two houses, killing all the 11 occupants, six from one house and five from the other.”
The militants reportedly destroyed telecom masts in the town, save a few from a mobile carrier, making communications limited.
Another resident, Ari Sanda said, “The insurgents looted provision stores before setting them on fire,” adding the fighters seized a military armoured vehicle and destroyed three trucks.
After they entered the town on Friday, a fighter jet deployed and engaged the militants who hid among the civilian population to evade aerial attack, the sources said.
The residents said, on Saturday the jihadists came out of hiding and were joined by more of their comrades who arrived in the town in trucks.
Kyari said, “They are still in the town, they are camping under trees, with some of them sleeping.”
Residents remained indoors while some tried to flee, despite assurances they would not harm civilians.
Residents said troops have blocked the road out of town, preventing panicked residents from leaving, prompting some to trek into the bush while others took boats to the other side the river to escape.
Kachalla said, “Our people want to leave town but soldiers are preventing them without chasing the insurgents out, leaving our people in danger.”