Boko Haram insurgents on Saturday invaded Gombe and warned residents against voting in next month?s elections.

Witnesses said the extremists stormed the city at around 9:00 am (0800 GMT) and advanced without any resistance from the security forces. It was unclear if there were casualties.

The violence prompted the state governor to impose an around-the-clock curfew.

A witness said, ?I evacuated my house along with my family before they arrived in the city and I?m happy that I did because from information I?m receiving they have taken over the military barracks,? he said.

Also, the Boko Haram fighters told residents to boycott elections which had originally been planned to take place on Saturday before they were postponed until March 28.

?Whoever professes Islam should distance himself from polling stations because we are going to attack polling booths,? read the Boko Haram leaflets.

Residents said the gunmen in military uniforms who invaded the city in around 30 vans and on several motorcycles later withdrew from the city unchallenged.

?They moved out of the city on their own free will and are now in Dakin-Kowa town,? resident Bello Jatau said, referring to an area around 40 kilometres away.

He said fleeing residents of Dadin-Kowa were taking refuge on hilltops from where they could see Boko Haram gunmen burning their homes.

Soldiers were said to be patrolling the streets of Gombe and firing indiscriminately following the withdrawal of the insurgents.

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