At least 59 members of terror group Boko Haram have been killed by Nigerian troops, during clashes in the town of Bama, north-east Nigeria.

According to Nigerian newspaper The Punch, soldiers killed the Boko Haram fighters when they attempted to take control of the town, in a bid to expand a caliphate they declared in Gwoza, Borno State, last August.

Police investigations said some 200 insurgents, disguised as army members, stormed the city while residents fled to neighbouring villages.

According to an anonymous source, "Fifty-nine of them [Boko Haram members] fell to the superior weapon handling and war tactics of the soldiers. About 30 others were seriously wounded."

A Bama resident described the fighting as "pandemonium everywhere, as we continued to hear deafening gunshots".

African caliphate ambition

Another source said the militants were also planning an attack on Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, where a curfew from 7pm to 6am was imposed.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

The news of the killings came just a few days after local media reported that the terror group declared sharia law in Gwoza, where they also beheaded Christian men and forced the widowers to marry the group's members.

Boko Haram (which name can be translated from Hausa to "Western education is forbidden") says it is fighting against Western influence in Nigeria and tries to impose its form of sharia law in the African country.

Boko Haram became known worldwide when it abducted 220 schoolgirls in Chibok, last April, which lead to fears that the victims are being used as suicide bombers.

The militants carry out their attacks mainly in northern Nigeria, where three states – Borno, Yobe and Adamawa – have been under a state of emergency since May 2013.

According to NGO Human Rights Watch, Boko Haram has killed more than 2,050 people since the beginning of 2014.