Troops rescue 330 from Boko Haram

  • 29/10/2015
Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag they seized (Reuters file)
Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag they seized (Reuters file)

The Nigerian army says it has freed more than 330 people, mostly women and children, from Boko Haram's Sambisa forest stronghold in the volatile northeast.

"The unit ... rescued 338 persons that were held captive by the terrorists," the army said of Tuesday's operation, adding that 192 of the survivors were children and 138 women.

It was not clear if any of the about 200 schoolgirls seized by the Islamists last year in northeastern Chibok were among those rescued.

The raid targeted "suspected Boko Haram terrorist camps at Bulajilin and Manawashe villages" on the edge of the Sambisa forest, the army said.

It said troops also killed 30 suspected jihadists and seized a cache of arms and ammunition in the area.

Pictures released by the army after the operation showed mostly women with some of them carrying babies.

The freed hostages have been moved to a camp for displaced persons in Mubi in nearby Adamawa state, the army said.

The army also said four Boko Haram suspects on a suicide bombing mission to Gubula town in Adamawa state were ambushed and killed by government troops.

Some weapons, unexploded ordnances, mortar bombs and some cash were recovered from the suspects, it said.

There was no independent confirmation of the army claims.

Boko Haram is believed to be holding the abducted Chibok girls in its Sambisa forest stronghold.

Their audacious kidnapping on April 14, 2014 sparked international anger, with strong condemnation of then president Goodluck Jonathan for his slow response to the girls' plight.

The Nigerian military has in recent months claimed a string of successes against Boko Haram in its quest to end the hardline Islamist group's six-year insurgency.