Boko Haram gunmen launched a dawn raid, yesterday, on the home town of Army chief, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, triggering a fierce gun battle with troops, residents of a nearby village to which people fled the clashes said.There was no immediate report of casualties in the fighting in Buratai, Borno State.

Abubakar Umar, a resident of the nearby hamlet of Miringa, told AFP that the fighting began at 5:00 am after Boko Haram insurgents attacked the village.

“At one point, we could hear explosions coming from the direction of Buratai,” he said.

Troops reinforcements from a military base in the town of Biu, 30 kilometres from Buratai, were seen passing through Miringa.

“Nine trucks conveying soldiers and another four carrying local hunters drove through our village towards Buratai and from what we hear more are on their way,” said Shitu Ayuba, another resident.

Some Buratai residents had fled to Miringa, where they took shelter in a primary school, locals said.

Buratai and nearby villages have been repeatedly targeted in deadly raids by the Islamist insurgents since June, when the army chief assumed office.

Residents believe the attacks are in response to recent military gains against the jihadists under the army chief.

President Muhammadu Buhari has given the military a December 31 deadline to crush the jihadist uprising that has killed some 17,000 and displaced around 2.6 million people since 2009.

Penultimate Saturday, Boko Haram killed 30 people and injured 20 others in raids on three villages near Buratai.

On Thursday, the insurgents killed 14 people, some of whom were decapitated, when they raided Kamuya village, the hometown of Buratai’s mother and burnt it down.