An operation launched Tuesday by the Nigerian military in the villages of Jangurori and Bulatori rescued 241 women and children from two camps controlled by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
In the raids in the country’s restive northeast, Nigerian troops destroyed both camps located near the border with Cameroon. Forty three Islamist militants were arrested, including local leader Bulama Modu, who was acting as the “emir” of the village of Bulakuri, Nigerian newspaper Punch reported.
Army spokesman Col. Sani Usman said that the military rescued 241 women and children, but it is not yet clear how many of them had been kidnapped by the group.
Troops also confiscated weapons, including some that had been buried by militants abandoning their posts during the raid, Usman told the paper.
“Apart from arms and ammunitions, bows and arrows recovered from Bulama Modu, the kingpin, he confirmed that the terrorists also gave him a horse to enhance his deadly pursuits,” Usman said.
Nigerian troops have pushed closer to seizing those responsible for organizing a recent attack in northern Cameroon as a suspected militant, Aji Gambo, arrested in Wudla village, gave up names of those who helped stage the attack. The terrorists descended from Dara Jamel village, where the rebels operate a bomb factory, Usman said.
He added that the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai, commended the troops for their impressive performance.
“The troops who are on very high spirits have reiterated their determination to continue with the fight against Boko Haram terrorists till they clear them from all known camps and enclaves,” Usman said in a statement.
Boko Haram militants have repeatedly carried out deadly attacks on civilians and militia in Nigeria and other western and central African countries, including Niger, Benin and Chad, killing and injuring hundreds of people.
Aiming to impose a strict version of Sharia law across these territories, Boko Haram militants have stepped up their attacks on villages, bombing public gathering spots like crowded markets, churches and mosques.
The group has kidnapped at least 2,000 women and girls since the beginning of last year, according to Amnesty International. In one raid, heavily armed militants abducted more than 200 girls from a boarding school in the northeastern city of Chibok. The fate of those girls remains unknown.