Nigerian troops rescued more than 800 hostages held by Boko Haram in an operation in parts of Borno state, the army announced March 24.
Spokesman Sani Usman said the troops killed 22 fighters and rescued 309 captives while clearing terrorists from 11 villages. They freed another 520 hostages in Kusumma village, where they killed three terrorists and arrested one.
“The gallant troops cleared the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists hibernating in Kala Balge general area,” Usman said in a written statement, adding the army has secured control of the local government area.
During the raid, the troops discovered and destroyed training camps and locally made weapons. They are now working to oust the remaining terrorists from the surrounding areas, Usman added.
Nigerian officials hail efforts to clamp down on Boko Haram and take back territory, but the group continues sporadic attacks across northeast Nigeria and in neighboring countries. Last week, two female suicide bombers killed at least 22 worshippers in an attack on a mosque on the outskirts of Maiduguri.
A day after the army’s “unprecedented” rescue, several Boko Haram militants kidnapped 16 women, including two girls, from Nigeria’s northeastern Adamawa state.
Two women who escaped alerted locals officials. She said some of the women were gathering firewood while others were fishing when they were kidnapped.
“We have been witnessing pockets of attacks contrary to the belief that security has been fully restored in the area,” Adamu Kamale, a local parliament representative told Nigeria’s Premium Times. “As a member of the National Assembly, I have been calling for the deployment of security personnel but to no avail, as the government seems to have relegated our concerns to the background.”
Since the start of Boko Haram’s insurgency in 2009, the militant group has killed more than 20,000 people and forced 2.1 million to flee their homes.
— by Onize Ohikere | WNS