Nigeria’s army says it has rescued 178 people, including over 100 children, held hostage by Takfiri Boko Haram terrorists in the restive northeastern state of Borno.
“During the offensive operations, 178 people held captive by the terrorists were rescued. They include 101 children, 67 women and 10 men,” army spokesman Colonel Tukur Gusau said in a late Sunday statement.
The operations occurred near the village of Aulari, some 70 kilometers (40 miles) south of Borno’s capital, Maiduguri, Gusau added.
“In addition, one Boko Haram terrorist commander was captured alive and is presently undergoing investigation,” the spokesman said, adding that several Boko Haram camps were cleared in the raid.
In recent months, the Nigerian military has freed hundreds of people held prisoner by Boko Haram, particularly in the Sambisa Forest, the group’s notorious stronghold in Borno.
The army said last week that it had freed 30 hostages, including 21 children, some 90 kilometers (56 miles) east of Maiduguri, and 59 prisoners in the nearby town of Konduga.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to smash Boko Haram. A new 8,700-strong multinational force made up of troops from Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin is being set up in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, to tackle the terrorists.
Since the beginning of Boko Haram’s bloody militancy in 2009, at least 15,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million have been displaced by the terror group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language, the most commonly spoken language in Nigeria.