ABUJA – A total of 1,130 people kidnapped by the Boko Haram terror organization were freed on Tuesday in a joint operation by the armed forces of Nigeria and Cameroon along their common border.
The Nigerian army said in a statement that 35 extremists were killed in the operation, adding that among the liberated captives were 209 children.
The two countries’ armies carried out several military operations in the border area, according to the statement, which did not specify whether or not there were casualties among the troops.
Authorities are proceeding to identify the freed people before sending them to camps for displaced persons.
The operations were carried out even as Nigerians are still expressing their outrage over the Jan. 19 kidnapping of 110 girls from a school in the country’s northeast in a Boko Haram attack, a strike that triggered fears of a repeat of what happened four years ago when the terror group kidnapped more than 200 girls, of whom 112 are still in captivity.
Boko Haram extremists have launched a number of attacks in Nigeria, declaring their own so-called caliphate in the northern part of the country where they aspire to impose Sharia (Islamic law).
Since 2009, Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and forced some two million to flee their homes, according to Nigerian government figures.