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Nigerian Troops Rescue 178 People From Boko Haram

The Nigerian army said on Sunday that it had freed 101 children, 67 women and 10 men people from Boko Haram, in attacks that destroyed several of the militant group's camps in the northeast of the country.
August 3, 2015, 3:25pm
Photo via EPA/STR

The Nigerian army said on Sunday it had rescued 178 people from Boko Haram, in attacks that destroyed several of the militant group's camps in the northeast of the country.

Nigerian Army spokesman Col. Tukur Gusau said that 101 of those freed were children, along with 67 women and 10 men.

The Nigerian Air Force also claimed to have killed a "large number" of militants during an operation to thwart an attack by the Islamic extremists on the village of Bitta, which is 45 miles southeast of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram. Sunday's statement did not specify when the attacks occurred.

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Last week the Nigerian army said it had rescued 71 kidnapped people. Hundreds have been freed from Boko Haram captivity this year, but none of the 219 girls abducted from a school in Chibok in April 2014 were among them.

Some of those rescued last week said they had been held by Boko Haram for up to one year in villages just 25 miles from Maiduguri.

Watch the VICE News documentary The War Against Boko Haram:

Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks on neighboring countries since pledging allegiance to the so-called Islamic State (IS) in April and renaming itself the IS "Western African Province." Since 2009 the extremist group has wreaked havoc in Nigeria, through bombings, abductions, and beheadings in its bid to create an "Islamic State" in the most populous country in Africa. The insurgency and the army fight against it have killed more than 15,500 people since 2012.

With the insurgency sparking a refugee crisisin the West Africa region, Nigerian President Muhammed Buhari on a visit to Benin pledged to defeat Boko Haram by December. Benin's President Thomas Bon Yayi as an "act of solidarity" vowed to contribute 800 troops to a regional force.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.