Nigerian terror group Boko Haram (now Iswap) has raided two towns in the north of Nigeria hours after it carried out a bomb attack on a mosque in Borno State's capital Maiduguri, killing at least 26 people and injuring several others.
The group torched public buildings, including a police station, a law court and government-built houses in Galda and Fika, in Yobe State, on Sunday (31 May).
The terrorists forced policemen to flee and residents to run indoors during the raid in which they also burned the towns' telecom masts, witnesses told news agency Reuters.
"Fika and Galda came under attack from Boko Haram last night. They burnt several public buildings in Fika and looted shops in Galda," a policeman, who spoke under conditions of anonymity, said. He added that the number of casualties was not available.
Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists?
Boko Haram fights against Western influence in Nigeria and aims to impose its version of Sharia law in the country. The group declared an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, along the Cameroon border, in August 2014.
Boko Haram has raided several cities in the north of the country in a bid to take control of more land.
Three states − Adamawa, Borno and Yobe − have been under a state of emergency since May 2013, due to Boko Haram's attacks. (Photo: Reuters)
"Soldiers [were] deployed from here but they were overpowered by the gunmen. Communication with the area has been disrupted as a result of the burning of telecom masts in the attacks."
Yobe, Borno and Adamawa are the states that mostly bear the brunt of the deadly insurgence, which has killed and displaced thousands in northeastern Nigeria since 2009.
The latest raids occurred shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in after he won the presidential election in March, ousting incumbent leader Goodluck Jonathan, often accused of not stepping up the efforts to halt terrorism in the country.
Buhari, a former military general and member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) party, vowed to end Boko Haram's insurgence and said the country would do everything it could to find some 220 girls abducted by the insurgents from Borno's Chibok village in April 2014.
US to resume training of Nigerian soldiers
As Boko Haram's insurgence continues to claim lives, the US announced it will send again military trainers to Nigeria to help the army improve its intelligence gathering and logistic.
"Something we can do quickly is to send advisers," a senior State Department official said after US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Buhari on 29 May.
"It could be related to intelligence; it could be something very simple, related to things like logistics. We certainly hope to be able to do more."
Relations between the two countries deteriorated last year and resulted in Jonathan's decision to halt the US training of Nigerian soldiers started after the Chibok girls were kidnapped.
The decision was made after the Nigerian government said it was not satisfied with the "scope, nature and content" of US support and accused Washington of failing to provide essential weapons for the fight against Boko Haram.
The US State Department has often expressed concern over alleged human rights abuses by the Nigerian army, accused among other things of failing to protect civilians during operations and carrying out extrajudicial executions.
The Nigerian army is currently aided by mercenaries and troops from the neighbouring countries Chad, Benin, Niger and Cameroon in its offensive, which has scored some successes since the military cooperation started in February.
Earlier in May, the army announced that it had entered what has been deemed as "the terrorists' last-known stronghold" in the Sambisa forest, on the border with Cameroon, and freed nearly 700 people captured by the group.