(By Estera Popowska)
In what brings to a total of 500 women and children rescued in just over a few days, the Nigeria the military said Friday that its troops have freed another 234 women and children from Boko Haram's stronghold in the Sambisa forest.
The hostages were rescued on Thursday through the Kawuri and Konduga end of Sambisa forest, Nigeria’s defence headquarters reportedly said in a statement.
AFP reported the military saying “they have been evacuated to join others at the place of ongoing screening,” adding that the “assault on the forest is continuing from various fronts and efforts are concentrated on rescuing hostages of civilians and destroying all terrorists camps and facilities in the forest.”
AFP reported that Nigeria's military had pledged to free more hostages from the Islamists after hundreds were rescued earlier this week. On Thursday, Nigerian military announced that about 160 hostages had been rescued from Sambisa in additional to 200 girls and 93 women freed on Tuesday.
The numbers underlined the scale of the tactic of mass abduction used by the militants, who according to Amnesty International have seized about 2,000 women and girls since the start of last year.
However, it was still not clear if any of the 219 girls snatched in April 2014 from their school in the northeastern town of Chibok were among the freed hostages.
Out going president Good luck Jonathan has come under severe criticism for not doing enough to free the Chibok girls as well as end the six-year-old Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed some 13,000 lives and forced at least 1.5 million people to flee their homes.
Many analysts believe the protracted Boko Haram uprising was partly responsible for Jonathan's defeat in the March 28 presidential election to former Former military ruler Mohammadu Buhari.
Buhari, who is due to assume office on May 29, has vowed to crush the militants who want to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria (AFP)