No fewer than 700 captives in Boko Haram strongholds in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state have escaped as government troops said it targeted militants’ infrastructure.
In a statement, Col. Timothy Antigha, an army spokesman, said that it conducted operations in Chikun Gudu area of the restive state and successfully destroyed Boko Haram’s infrastructure and logistics such as communication centers, bomb making equipment and vehicles.
“The ensuing collapse of their command structure and means of survival have therefore triggered the abandonment of the islands and escape of the abductees to Monguno,” Antigha said.
“So far, over 700 former Boko Haram abductees, comprising adult males, females and children, have been received by troops of 242 Battalion in Monguno. Profiling of the displaced persons is on-going to ensure that no terrorist takes advantage of the situation to sneak into the town,” he added.
At least two pregnant women among the captives have delivered babies, according to Antigha.
He said troops are now focused on hunting Boko Haram commanders.
Boko Haram, meanwhile, has continued to launch skeletal attacks in remote areas of northeastern Borno and Yobe.
Local newspapers reported an attack on a troops’ position on Monday night that killed at least five soldiers. The report claimed that 30 other soldiers are still missing.
The army’s spokesmen have not spoken on the purported incident.
On Tuesday, Boko Haram factional chief Abubakar Shekau appeared in 31-minute footage, claiming the group remains intact and healthy.
The footage was Shekau’s first in many months, apparently suggesting increasing pressure on the group.