Witnesses and authorities say at least four people were killed when gunmen suspected of belonging to a radical Islamist sect attacked a town in northeast Nigeria.

The attack happened early Thursday in the town of Song in Adamawa state. Adamawa state police spokesman Mohammed Ibrahim said the gunmen shot dead two civilians, a soldier and a police officer.

The assault in the rural area comes amid growing evidence that the radical sect known as Boko Haram is increasingly aiming at targets outside urban centers in Nigeria's northeast. Cities across Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north have been flooded with security forces who have been unsuccessfully trying to stop the sect's attacks.

Boko Haram is blamed for killing at least 792 people last year alone in Nigeria, according to an Associated Press count.