ABUJA, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Gunmen attacked the Nigerian northeastern town of Bama early Wednesday, killing 47 people, police confirmed.
Police Commissioner for Borno state Lawan Tanko said Wednesday night that some buildings were razed by the attackers, suspected members of the Boko Haram Islamist group.
Officials and witnesses said the gunmen invaded the town at about 4.00 a.m. (0300 GMT), opened fire on a school and partly burned down the palace of a traditional ruler of Borno, whose kingdom was one of the oldest medieval Islamic caliphates in West Africa.
The invaders drove in heavy trucks into the town through the Government Science College, said Baba Ali, a member of the local vigilance group on guard during the incident.
"We were lucky that they came through one route so we tried to resist them," Ali said. "But we realized that they were in hundreds carrying sophisticated weapons."
Ali, who escaped to the state capital of Maiduguri on foot, said his team of seven men took cover at the nearby Bama General Hospital before fleeing into the bush.
He said about 3000 houses were destroyed by the attackers.
On Sunday, more than 100 people were killed in an attack by gunmen at the village of Izghe in Borno state, where terrorists attacks have become more frequent.
Zanna Shettima, former Chairman of the Nigeria Labor Congress in the state, condemned the attack as barbaric.
State governor Kashim Shettima said Nigerians should see the Boko Haram sect as a common enemy rather than a religious group, urging the federal government to explore new security avenues to tackle their attacks.
The Boko Haram group, based in Borno, killed thousands of locals and foreigners in its insurgency of four and half years.