Nigerian troops free 338 hostages held by Boko Haram, including 192 children

Nearly 340 men, women and children, held captive by militant Islamist group Boko Haram have been rescued by the Nigerian Army.

The hostages, which included 192 children and 138 women, had been kept by the terrorists in their Sambisa Forest stronghold, near the border to Cameroon, the army said Wednesday.

Nigerian army troops also killed 30 suspected jihadists and seized a cache of arms and ammunition, in a number of raids carried out on Tuesday.

Saved: Some of the 338 people who were held by Boko Horom are pictured after they were rescued during an army operation in Sambisa Forest, north-east Nigeria

‘The (army) unit … rescued 338 persons that were held captive by the terrorists,’ the army said Wednesday, adding that 192 of the survivors were children and 138 women.

The Tuesday raid targeted ‘suspected Boko Haram terrorist camps at Bulajilin and Manawashe villages’ on the edge of the Sambisa forest.

A representative added that troops killed 30 suspected jihadists and seized a cache of arms and ammunition.

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.

The air force said in a statement on Tuesday it had launched strikes on the group’s vehicle and fuel depots ‘in a renewed drive to further degrade’ its assets.

Air force chief Sadique Abubakar was quoted as saying the strikes were helping ‘pave the way for the final onslaught’ by Nigerian ground forces.

The vast Sambisa forest reserve, the group’s remaining stronghold, has become hard to penetrate due to widespread landmines laid by the militant group.

In the last few months the military has ramped up its offensive into the Sambisa and surrounding areas with air strikes and an increase in ground troops.

Security sources in neighbouring Niger on Wednesday blamed Boko Haram for the deaths of at least 14 people in an overnight attack on a village in the southeast of the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in May on a pledge to crush Boko Haram, has given his military commanders until the end of December to defeat the group.

The Boko Haram insurgency has killed at least 17,000 people and forced more than 2.5 million to flee their homes since 2009.

Source: The DailyMail

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