The Nigerian Army says they have rescued 71 people from the home grown Boko Haram militants. The captives, mostly girls and women were freed during firefights that killed many Boko Haram militants in villages near the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Thursday.
According to the Associated Press, Some of the captives were holed up with the Islamic extremists for almost a year. "I was waiting for death ... they often threatened to kill us," said Yagana Kyari, a woman in her 20s who said she had been kidnapped from her village of Kawuri and taken to a militant camp in Walimberi, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Maiduguri, the biggest city in the northeast and the birthplace of Boko Haram
Kyari said they often went hungry because the extremists never provided enough food. "Our gallants troops have rescued a total number of 59 civilians in two camps of the terrorist group," army spokesman Col. I.T. Gusau said. "Many of the terrorists were killed in the course of the operations, but mop up is still going on."
The 59, all women and children except for five elderly men, were freed on Thursday, he said. Another 12 women and girls were rescued Wednesday from Kilakisa, 90 kilometres (55 miles) southwest of Maiduguri, he said.
The military has said hundreds of captives were freed in March when they declared they had seized back all towns held by Boko Haram, which last year had declared an Islamic caliphate in a large swath of the northeast.
But attacks have increased in recent weeks, with hundreds killing in suicide bombings and village assaults. At least two women and girl suicide bombers this month were said to have come from the area where those freed this week were held. It is feared Boko Haram is turning its captives into weapons.
Boko Haram extremists drew international condemnation and outrage in April 2014 when they kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls from the remote northeastern town of Chibok. Although some of the schoolgirls have managed to escape, upto 219 girls are still missing.
Source: Associated Press