Hundreds of Nigerian girls and women rescued from Boko Haram in army raids

Girls and women who were rescued on July 30 near Maiduguri

Hundreds of children and women have been rescued from Boko Haram in a series of raids by the Nigerian army.

Several militant camps were destroyed as 178 people – 101 children, 67 women and 10 men – were saved in the north-east of the country, the military said on August 2.

Another 71, almost all girls and women, were rescued on July 30 in villages near the city of Maiduguri last week. Twelve girls and women were saved the day before in an operation about 55 miles away and a further 21 children were among 30 internally displaced people set free in the Dikwa area of Borno state.

Several hundred people have been rescued from Boko Haram by the military this year – but none so far has been identified as being among the 219 schoolgirls still missing after the Chibok mass abduction.

Some of those rescued last week said they had been held for as long as a year in militant camps.

Presidents Biya and Buhari at Yaounde airport in Cameroon

Boko Haram has repeatedly targeted children, especially girls, as it wages its war of terror in the northeastern part of Nigeria and into neighbouring Cameroon. They have attacked and destroyed scores of schools.

Presidents Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Paul Biya of Cameroun met on July 31 and agreed to work together to combat Boko Haram in both countries. On a visit to Cameroon, President Buhari said: “We recognise that none of us can succeed alone. In order to win this war we need the collective efforts of each one of us, standing together as a formidable force for good, to defeat and end these acts of terror against our people.”

In April, a report by Amnesty International revealed that at least 2000 girls and women had been abducted by the group since the start of 2014.

Young girls are also increasingly being forced to become “suicide bombers” – although most are believed to have their explosives detonated remotely.

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