Suspected Boko Haram militants launched a fierce attack on Nigeria's major northeastern city of Maiduguri this morning but were defeated by government forces.
The attack was launched in the early hours of Sunday morning and shelling and gunfire was reportedly heard later in the day. At least eight people are believed to have been killed and 27 injured, mostly civilians.
Military helicopters circled the city and air strikes were carried out. Authorities imposed a curfew, all roads have been closed and commercial premises shut.
It is believed that militants began the attack at the edge of the city in the Njimtilo area.
As the capital of Borno state, Maiduguri would have been a major asset for Boko Haram should government forces have failed to hold the city.
The city is home to many thousands of people from smaller towns and cities in the northeast of Nigeria that have been attacked by the militants.
The rise of Boko Haram
The rise of Boko Haram
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The leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau delivers a message. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the mass killings in the north-east Nigerian town of Baga in a video where he warned the massacre “was just the tip of the iceberg”. As many as 2,000 civilians were killed and 3,700 homes and business were destroyed in the 3 January 2015 attack on the town near Nigeria's border with Cameroon
2/19 Boko Haram
People displaced as a result of Boko Haram attacks in the northeast region of Nigeria, are seen near their tents at a faith-based camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Yola, Adamawa State. Boko Haram says it is building an Islamic state that will revive the glory days of northern Nigeria's medieval Muslim empires, but for those in its territory life is a litany of killings, kidnappings, hunger and economic collapse
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Nitsch Eberhard Robert, a German citizen abducted and held hostage by suspected Boko Haram militants, is seen as he arrives at the Yaounde Nsimalen International airport after his release in Yaounde, Cameroon on 21 January 2015
4/19 Boko Haram
Officials of the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) visit victims of a bomb blast in Gombe at the Specialist Hospital in Gombe. According to local reports at least six people were killed and 11 wounded after a bomb blast in a marketplace in Nigeria's northeastern state of Gombe on 16 January 2015. Islamist militant group Boko Haram has been blamed for a string of recent attacks in the North East of Nigeria
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People gather at the site of a bomb explosion in a area know to be targeted by the militant group Boko Haram in Kano on 28 November 2014
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People gather to look at a burnt vehicle following a bomb explosion that rocked the busiest roundabout near the crowded Market in Maiduguri, Borno State on 1 July 2014. A truck exploded in a huge fireball killing at least 15 people in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, the city repeatedly hit by Boko Haram Islamists
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President Goodluck Jonathan visits Nigerian Army soldiers fighting Boko Haram
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Displaced people from Baga listen to Goodluck Jonathan after the Boko Haram killings
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Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan speaking to troops during a visit to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State; most of the region has been overrun by Boko Haram
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Members of the Nigerian military patrolling in Maiduguri, North East Nigeria, close to the scene of attacks by Boko Haram
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Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, appears in a video in which he warns Cameroon it faces the same fate as Nigeria
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South Africans protest in solidarity against the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria by the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram and what protesters said was the failure of the Nigerian government and international community to rescue them, during a march to the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg
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Boko Haram militants have seized the town in north-eastern Nigeria that nearly 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped from in April 2014
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A soldier stands guard in front of burnt buses after an attack in Abuja. Twin blasts at a bus station packed with morning commuters on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital killed dozens of people, in what appeared to be the latest attack by Boko Haram Islamists, April 2014
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The aftermath of the attack, when Boko Haram fighters in trucks painted in military colours killed 51 people in Konduga in February 2014
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The leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau (with papers) in a video grab taken in July 2014
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Ruins of burnt out houses in the north-eastern settlement of Baga, pictured after Boko Haram attacks in 2013
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A Boko Haram attack in Nigeria, 2013
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Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader
Rachel Adamu, who lives in the Njimtilo district, said "please pray for us, we are in danger, under serious attack now," as the assault was underway.
Boko Haram has waged a five-year insurgency, killing thousands of civilians in the process, in its attempt to create an Islamic state in the north of the country.
The group already controls huge parts of Borno state and some areas of neighbouring Adamawa and Yobe states.
In recent weeks they have taken control of Baga and the nearby army base, in an attack that was described as one of Boko Haram's deadliest to date.
President Goodluck Jonathan visited Maiduguri on Saturday as part of his campaign for re-election in February. The inability of the government to deal with the insurgents is causing major problems for the president and his government.
On Monday the opposition leader, Muhammadu Buhari, is scheduled to visit the state capital.
Boko Haram previously attempted to capture Maiduguri and a nearby army and airforce base in December 2013, but were pushed back by government forces.
Additional reporting by ReutersReuse content