Kano - Several "huge" explosions were heard on Friday night as Nigerian troops engaged Boko Haram fighters in a village outside Maiduguri, a civilian vigilante said.
"Hordes of Boko Haram gunmen are currently locked in fierce battle with troops in Zabarmari village, 10 kilometres (six miles) outside Maiduguri," vigilante Danlami Ajaokuta told AFP.
"We have been hearing huge explosions coming from Zabarmari since 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) as troops fought to push back Boko Haram gunmen who are trying to invade the city," he said.
"There have so far been more than 10 explosions," he said, adding that frightened residents of Zabarmari had fled to Maiduguri.
He said civilian vigilante fighters who have been assisting the military to battle the insurgents were "on alert and ready for any eventuality."
Zanna Shehuri, a Maiduguri resident, told AFP the Islamists were not finding it easy to enter the city.
"The city is tense following news that Boko Haram are now in Zabarmari trying to come into Maiduguri but are are facing stiff resistance from soldiers," he said.
"From here we can hear explosions coming from the direction of Zabarmari. I spoke to my cousin who lives there on the phone and he told me he and his family are on their way to Maiduguri. He said everybody was fleeing the village," he said.
The latest incident follows a wave of attacks by Boko Haram militants since Wednesday that have claimed some 200 lives in killings which President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday described as "inhuman and barbaric".