Four locals told AFP by telephone that the assault started at roughly 3:00 a.m. local time (02:00 GMT).
"The whole city is in fear," resident Adam Krenuwa told the agency adding that people are scared of what might happen if Boko Haram actually wins that fight with the security forces.
Boko Haram is a militant group, which aims at establishing an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. Large swathes of land in the Borno State, as well as in neighboring Adamawa and Yobe are believed to be under control of the Islamists. The Boko Haram insurgency has left over 13,000 people dead since 2009.
In October 2014, the leaders of Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon announced plans to step up the fight against Boko Haram with an additional battalion and a command center to tackle the group, and Chad began its operation in mid-January. Chad is considered impacted by this conflict not only because it is harmed by Boko Haram, but also because it faces a dire humanitarian situation as refugees flee to the country as Boko Haram's influence spreads in Nigeria.
On January 4, Boko Haram militants captured the town of Baga in Borno State, reportedly killing hundreds. "The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous," Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for a local defense group that fights militants, told the Associated Press. Reports emerged that approximately 2,000 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, were killed, according to Amnesty International.