Parts of the region, in northeast Nigeria's Borno state, have been isolated from government help because militants patrol and control the roads, some residents said. The attack Friday followed previous assaults in the past two weeks.
Witnesses said half the buildings left standing in the town after a previous attack were burned, and bodies lay scattered in the streets. They added security forces abandoned Damboa two weeks ago after a Boko Haram attack on a military outpost there killed several soldiers and police officers.
A definitive count of casualties was not released by officials.
The Nigerian government said despite near-daily incidents of attacks blamed on the militant Islamic group, agreements recently concluded with neighboring countries will end the Boko Haram insurgency, now in its fifth year, that has included the deaths of over 2,000 civilians, mostly in Borno state, and the May kidnapping of over 200 girls from their school in Chibok.
"We have what it takes. We have the military might. We have the resources. We have the men and we have the will. Now that we have gotten cooperation with our neighbors in terms of intelligence and support we will win this war," said Doyin Okupe, public affairs assistant to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
Jonathan asked the Nigerian Parliament, earlier this week, for approval to seek $1 billion in foreign loans to improve military equipment and training to subdue Boko Haram.