Suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked a military base in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri and freed dozens of prisoners from custody, Nigerian military said.
An anonymous military source told the AFP news agency on Friday that the rebels forced their way inside the barracks prison and “freed dozens of their members”.
Asked about the report, defence spokesman Chris Olukolade told AFP that “many insurgents are in flight. Whether they were those who staged the attack or those who were held prisoner is not yet known.”
In a separate statement, Olukolade said Boko Haram attacked the barracks “to boost their depleted stock of fighters” after being hit hard in recent weeks by military bombardments.
The army has used Giwa to detain hundreds of people suspected of belonging to the Boko Haram.The barracks is the headquarters of a 10-month-old government offensive against the group in northeast Nigeria.
More than 2,000 people have been killed in violence over the last six months, security sources say.
Human Rights Watch on Friday said Boko Haram had carried out more than 40 attacks already in 2014, with more than 700 people killed, one of the highest rates of killing since the violence began.
President Goodluck Jonathan intensified the military campaign almost a year ago to oust Boko Haram fighters from their stronghold in the poor and undeveloped northeast but it has failed to stem the bloodshed.