Eyewitnesses have told the BBC that half the town was burnt down, including the main market. One resident said the attack was launched on Thursday night and lasted until the early hours…BBC report.
Boko Haram’s violent campaign to establish an Islamic state has killed thousands of people in recent years.
In April, it sparked international outrage by abducting more than 200 girls from their boarding school in Chibok, in Borno state, like Damboa.
Damboa, 85km (53 miles) from the state capital Maiduguri, is now said to be deserted as many people have fled to neighbouring towns.
Boko Haram attacked the barracks in the town two weeks ago, killing several soldiers.
Nigeria’s defence ministry said the military had repelled that attack and killed at least 50 insurgents.
But residents say that since then the town has been defended by vigilante groups.
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan asked the National Assembly for an extra $1bn to help the military fight Boko Haram.
But the parliamentarians have now gone on a two-month recess without debating the request.
Nigeria’s soldiers have frequently complained that the insurgents have superior firepower.
Nigeria has a military budget of about $6bn a year but large sums are lost to corruption, critics say.
The US, UK, China, France and Israel have all sent military assistance to help rescue the schoolgirls.
Who are Boko Haram?
- Founded in 2002
- Initially focused on opposing Western education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
- Launched military operations in 2009 to create Islamic state
- Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria – also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja
- Some three million people affected
- Declared terrorist group by US in 2013
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