Gombe State police commissioner Ebikeme Orubebe said the overnight attack at Kwami, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) from Gombe city, the capital of Gombe state, was staged by “Boko Haram people”.
He was referring to a sect that has been blamed for scores of shootings and bomb attacks, mostly in Nigeria’s northeast.
The group claimed responsibility for the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja on August 26 that killed at least 23 people.
“There were explosions at the mobile base,” . Orubebe said an investigation was under way but provided no further details other than to say that the base had barracks and operational units.
Assistant inspector general of police John Morenike said: “Our men at the barracks engaged the assailants in a gun duel and succeeded in chasing them away.”
“Three of the attackers were killed and one of our men was also killed,” he said. “I don’t want to speculate on who carried out the attack but I can confirm to you that the assailants used some explosives to carry out the attack.”
“They succeeded in burning our administrative block and 15 operational vehicles were affected.”
A resident of Kwami, civil servant Ibrahim Musa, said he had heard three blasts in the space of five minutes, which panicked local residents who did not leave their homes to investigate until the morning.
“At the barracks I saw the admin block completely razed down,” he said.
“Some of the adjoining buildings were also torched…,” he added.
While he did not see any dead bodies, he had heard reports that a police inspector and civilians had died in the attack and there had been a gun battle between police and the base’s attackers.
Police have not confirmed the deaths.
The north of Nigeria has been the site of regular attacks on police officers, soldiers, politicians and religious leaders, most of them attributed to the Boko Haram.