Boko Haram Terror Group claims responsibility for bombing spree
According to Nigerian army chief of staff Lt Gen Azubuike Ihejirika.his forces had killed more than 50 suspected militants.
He told local radio: "They came with sophisticated and heavy weaponry… and bombs but our trained soldiers subdued them"..
One eye-witness said that bomb blasts and shooting could be heard around Damaturu for several hours.
"People are scared and they are just moving out of the town now," said the witness, who gave his name as Suliman.
In Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, at least 11 people were killed in another shootout, officials and medics say.
The Boko Haram Islamist sect, which aims to impose sharia law across the country, claimed responsibility for the three church bombs, the second Christmas in a row the group has caused mass carnage with deadly bombings of churches. Security forces also blamed the sect for two other blasts in the north.
Their actions are raising fears that they are trying to ignite sectarian civil war.
The city – on the threshold of the Sahara desert – is described by Nigerian authorities as Boko Haram's heartland.
The sect first came to prominence in 2009 when hundreds of its followers were killed when they attacked police stations in Maiduguri.
Its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was arrested but died in police custody.
Boko Haram resumed its attacks – mostly in Maiduguri – a year later and has since staged deadly raids across the mostly Muslim north, as well as central areas such as Jos and Abuja.
Under Yusuf's leadership, the group demanded that Nigeria become an Islamic state but it is now believed to be made up of several factions, with various demands