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Nigeria Says Another 234 Women and Children Have Been Rescued From Boko Haram

The announcement comes just days after the military touted the rescue of nearly 300 other women and children from the militant group’s forest stronghold.
Photo via Nigerian Military/AP

Nigeria's military announced Friday that another 234 women and children taken hostage by Boko Haram have been rescued from the militant group's forest stronghold in the north of the country.

The announcement comes after the military touted the rescue of nearly 300 other women and children on Tuesday. The military added that they are still working to identify the hostages, and it is not immediately clear if any of them are the missing Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted last April.


The latest rescue operation took place Thursday in the Sambisa Forest, a remote area where many Boko Haram fighters have holed up after being driven out of towns by a Nigerian military offensive supported by troops from Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.

Related: Nigeria Working to ID Nearly 300 Women Rescued After Battle With Boko Haram

FLASH: Another set of 234 women and children were rescued through the Kawuri and Konduga end of the #Sambisa Forest on Thursday #COINUpdate

— DEFENCE HQ NIGERIA (@DefenceInfoNG) May 1, 2015

Three Boko Haram camps were also destroyed during the Sambisa Forest operation on Tuesday, the military said. The Sambisa Forest has been targeted in a series of air raids and ground attacks in recent weeks.

Boko Haram has waged a bloody insurgency in Nigeria since 2009, killing thousands and destabilizing the country. The group has steadily continued to make advances over the past year and a half despite punishing attacks from the military.

Kidnapping has been a major tactic used by the group, and non-Muslim women and girls are their preferred target. The female hostages are often taken as brides by fighters.

Amnesty International said Boko Haram has abducted as many as 2,000 women and girls since the beginning of 2014. Many of the female captives have reportedly been subjected to sexual slavery.

Muhammad Gavi, a spokesman for a Nigerian militia fighting Boko Haram, told USA Today that some of the girls freed this past week were pregnant.

Nigeria's military did not say how many more hostages Boko Haram is still believed to be holding.

Related: The War Against Boko Haram (Full Length)

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @obecker928