NIGERIA – Maiduguri – A 24-hour curfew has been imposed after a major attack. Local civilian airport has also been closed as a result of the attack.
Hundreds of suspected Boko Haram militants have attacked a military airbase and other targets in north-eastern Nigeria, eyewitnesses said.
Several areas of the city of Maiduguri were targeted in the assault which began in the early hours of Monday.
A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Maiduguri. Its civilian airport was also closed.
A BBC correspondent says the large-scale, co-ordinated attack is a big setback for the Nigerian military.
Thousands of people have been killed since 2009, when Boko Haram launched its campaign to install Islamic law.
In May, a state of emergency was declared in Borno, of which Maiduguri is the capital, and there has been a massive military deployment to the worst-affected areas.
Local residents told AFP that hundreds of heavily armed Islamist gunmen besieged an air force and army base, destroying aircraft, razing buildings and setting shops and petrol stations ablaze.
A military official at the airbase said he saw three aircraft and several vehicles hit in the attack, AP reported.
Bomb and gun attacks were carried out in Maiduguri, an AFP reporter in the city said.
“They entered Maiduguri from the bush, chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ [God is great],” a Nigerian intelligence officer told the agency.
There are reports of military checkpoints being attacked in different parts of the city.
Some eyewitnesses said they had seen bodies with their throats slit.
Others said several vehicles had been driven out of the air base carrying the bodies of victims.
Government and military officials said scores of people may be dead, AP reported.
Recent Boko Haram attacks have been in more rural areas, and it had appeared as though the military operation had made Maiduguri city far safer, says the BBC Nigeria correspondent Will Ross.
Mobile phone links to the city have been cut since May, when the state of emergency was declared.
Boko Haram was founded in Maiduguri in 2002.