Christian town is victim of suspected Boko Haram attack in northern Nigeria; death toll uncertain

The scene of a suspected Boko Haram on a mosque in KanoReuters

Dozens are believed to have been killed in a suspected Boko Haram attack on a largely Christian town in northern Nigeria on Saturday. 

Residents of Shani, Borno state, report that men arrived by motorcycle and started throwing bombs and shooting at people.  The exact death toll is uncertain.

The Daily Post Nigeria reported that thousands of locals fled into the bush for safety as the attack unfolded on Saturday night.

It is the third time Shani has suffered a fatal attack by militants since 2011.  Previous attacks were targeted at election offices and the divisional police headquarters.

Witnesses told the Daily Post the attackers were well armed and there were no military personnel or police officers to defend people as the attack took place.

"They rode on motorcycles and were more than 30 men. They started throwing bombs into houses...then the Boko Haram fired shots at people fleeing," resident Ishaya Brimah told Reuters by phone from a nearby village on Sunday.

"They set ablaze the police station, houses and a telecom mast...I saw people fleeing, some bodies on the ground."

On Friday, around a hundred people were killed when gunmen set off three bombs and opened fire on worshippers at a mosque in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.