Abuja: At least 17 people, including ten militants, have been killed in fighting between members of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram and security forces in northeastern Nigeria, officials said on Monday.
Lt Colonel A G Laka of the Nigerian army confirmed that ten militants and seven security personnel were killed on Thursday during a violent confrontation in the northern city of Bama in Borno State.
Laka said Boko Haram members attacked a Divisional Police Officer`s (DPO) patrol vehicle, killing two of his orderlies.
The police responded the gunfire in which militants were also killed.
Laka said that the Joint team of soldiers and police responded to the attacks which resulted in fire on buildings mostly shopping malls and shops.
According to Laka, 200 houses were also burnt down.
"The special bullets we use which are called `Tracers` often spark fire once they hit target," he said.
Angry residents wanted the withdrawal of the soldiers from the streets of Bama.
Laka said that Boko Haram insurgents were using civilians, mostly women and children, in the thatch houses as a shield during the attack.
Boko Haram has been a major terrorist group in Nigeria which has killed thousands through suicide attacks, bombings and shootings.
The group wants to install an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, an oil rich African country with a population of 150 million people equally shared between the two major religions, Islam and Christianity.