“Scores of the terrorists died in the assault on their bases on Friday,” a Nigerian Defense Ministry statement said Saturday of the operation in the Sambisa Forest, a major stronghold of the militants in northeast Nigeria.
The statement claimed that a total of 20 women and children were rescued in the operation, which it said was carried out “despite continuous encounter with [a] large number of land mines which still litter” the area.
At least one soldier was killed and 10 others were wounded in the operation, the latest in a string of offensives Nigerian military says it has launched in the forest.
News agencies and activists on the ground suspect the validity of the accounts provided by the Nigerian Defense Ministry, as they seem to be inconsistent with eye witness accounts.
According to similar reports over the past few weeks, Nigerian armed forces have managed to free more than 700 hostages from Boko Haram captivity in their offensives into Sambisa, from where it has planned and executed many of its terrorists operations over the years.
Amnesty International says more than 2,000 women and children have been kidnapped by the Takfiri terrorist group since January 2014, with many of them becoming victims of sexual violence.
The offensive against the forest, which is being assisted by troops from neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, has reportedly failed to stop attacks by Boko Haram in other areas in north Nigeria.
Violence has flared up in the northeastern Adamawa State, with concerns that Boko Haram may gradually take control of towns and villages in the relatively calm region and establish new bases there.
Since 2009, the violence fueled by Boko Haram Takfiris has killed more than 15,000 and uprooted some 1.5 million others from their homes.