Islamist group Boko Haram attacked the house of an army general in Borno state overnight, killing one of the soldiers guarding it, police said on Wednesday.
Lawal Tanko, police commissioner for Borno state, which is the center of an Islamist insurgency, said General Umar Tukur Buratai was not at his residence at the time of the assault.
“The soldiers succeeded in repelling the attacks on Buratai resulting in minimal damage,” he said, confirming that one soldier had been killed.
Tanko said there had been a separate attack on the town of Bama, but gave no details.
President Goodluck Jonathan ordered extra troops into northeast Nigeria in May to crush Boko Haram, which wants to create a breakaway Islamic state in the largely Muslim north, but the offensive, backed by air power, has not yet quelled the insurgency.
The militants retreated into the remote, hilly Gwoza area bordering Cameroon, from where they have mounted deadly attacks against civilians they accuse of being pro-government, and have abducted dozens of young girls.
On Sunday the Islamists killed 106 people in Igze village, in one of their deadliest assaults so far, according to official figures. That prompted the Borno state governor to say the rebels were better armed and motivated than government forces.
The military denied this and said it was making progress against the insurgents, but that no country facing terrorism had defeated it completely.
Jonathan faces an election in a year, with Boko Haram’s persistence as the number one threat to Africa’s top oil producer fuelling criticism that he has failed on security.