At least 11, 595 civilians held at various enclaves by Boko Haram have been rescued, the Nigerian Army headquarters said on Wednesday, as troops intensify efforts to clear and mop up all insurgent activities in the terror-ravaged northeast.
The army said the rescue operations were carried out within the past six weeks.
Women and young children who have been caught in the Boko Haram crossfire finally regained their freedom and temporarily settled in camps for the internally displaced persons, IDPs.
“In continuation of the clearance and mopping up operations of the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in various parts of the North East geo-political region, troops have rescued no fewer than 11,595 persons held hostage by the terrorists within the last one month,” the army said in a statement signed by the Acting a Director of Army Public Relations, Sani Usman, and made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday.
The military further explained that the rescue operations were carried out by different military outposts across the beleaguered region and a significant number of them were received from Cameroonian authorities.
“On 1st March 2016, troops of 155 Task Force Battalion received 10,000 refugees from the Republic of Cameroon at Banki and Bama axis,” Mr. Usman said. “Two days later, Army Headquarters Special Forces (AHQ SF) Battalion also rescued 63 persons held captives by terrorists at Maleri. The same unit on 5th March 2016 rescued 779 persons at Fotokol general area, a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon.
“Within the first week of March 2016, the 254 Task Force Battalion also rescued 45 persons at Kuaguru, while 143 Battalion similarly rescued 27 persons at Gadayamo,15 at Galadadani Dam in Madagali and 10 persons from Disa village. On 11th March 2016 troops of 231 Battalion and Armed Forces Strike Force (AFSF) also rescued 7 persons held captives by Boko Haram terrorists at Betso village; 5 of whom were elderly women and 2 young girls.
“Similarly 117 Task Force Battalion on 15th March 2016, received 14 refugees from Sahuda a border town with Cameroon. The Battalion equally rescued 59 at Bitta general area on 19th March 2016.
“In similar vein, troops of 22 Brigade in conjunction with Army Headquarters Strike Group (AHQ SG) rescued 309 hostages from Kala Balge general area on 23rd of March 2016. While on 30th March 2016 troops of 25 Task Force Brigade rescued 45 men, 85 women and 137 children from the Boko Haram terrorists at, Zahdra and Weige villages.
”Thus the total number of persons rescued by the troops during the ongoing clearance operations is 11,595 from February 26th, 2016 to date.”
The military also promised to prioritise the rights of civilians and always uphold their dignity.
“The gallant troops in the course of these clearance operations would continue to place high premium on respect for human right and dignity, hence the rescue operations.”