Nigerian Army rescues 210 hostages from Boko Haram

Nigerian Army says it rescued 210 people being held hostage from Boko Haram militants during large military operation in north of country

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Nigerian soldiers on a military exercise.

Nigerian soldiers rescued 210 hostages from Boko Haram militants during a large-scale military operation in northeastern Yobe state, the army announced on Friday.

“The team found and rescued 210 persons, comprising of mostly elderly men, women and children who have been safely evacuated to an internally displaced person camp,” Sani Usman, an army spokesman, declared in a statement.

During a separate operation, five militants were also killed on Thursday, the statement added.

Nigerian authorities are battling Boko Haram, a militant group that has waged a six-year campaign of killings and kidnappings to impose its version of Islamic law on the region.

The army earlier this week launched massive operations to purge militants from the Sambisa forest.

Sambisa forest plays crucial role for militants, they use the mines, tunnels and bunkers they constructed to escape from Nigerian Air Force attacks

In the past weeks, the Nigerian Army has rescued more than 1,000 abducted victims and destroyed dozens of Boko Haram camps. However, the militant group has stepped up its tactics, such as suicide bombings in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger.

A handout picture provided by the Nigerian army on October 28, 2015 shows some of the 338 people who were released by soldiers from Boko Horom in the country’s northeast. (Photo: AFP)

Since 2009, the group has killed at least 17,000 people, mostly in Nigeria and 2 million others have been displaced by Boko Haram violence.

Boko Haram was established in 2002. Since then, they have been carrying out their operations in West African countries including Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

The group's name translates to “Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language that underlines the group's focus on opposing Western-style education.

TRTWorld and agencies