Suspected Islamic militants have attacked the northern Nigerian town of Maiduguri.

Residents said gunfire and explosions rocked the town Friday morning.

Officials say soldiers have engaged the attackers in a shootout near the military barracks in the city that is a hotbed of the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility or reports on casualties.

Boko Haram is blamed for thousands of deaths since 2009, including attacks on mosques, churches, schools, villages, markets and government facilities.

Efforts by the Nigerian military to stamp out the group have not stopped the violence.

Boko Haram says it is fighting to create a strict Islamic state in the mainly Muslim north of oil-rich Nigeria, Africa's most populous country.