An ongoing battle between Nigeria’s military and Boko Haram resulted in more than 1,000 people being rescued from the Islamist militant group in the northeast of the country. Nigerian officials claimed to have killed 50 of the terrorists.

It said the hostages consisted mainly of women and children, as well as some young men who had forced to fight for the group. Reuters was unable to independently verify the details contained in the military statement.

The military, in an emailed statement, said troops rescued hostages from Malamkari, Amchaka, Walasa and Gora villages of Bama Local Government Area in the northeastern state of Borno.

It said the operation was conducted in conjunction with troops from neighbouring countries who make up the Multinational Joint Task Force.

The government has been saying since December 2015 that the militants had been defeated. But the group, which has kidnapped thousands since it began an insurgency in 2009 aimed at creating an Islamic state in the northeast, has carried out high-profile attacks in the last few months.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May 2015 vowing to end Boko Haram’s insurgency, has made it a priority to improve security in Africa’s most populous country but insurgents have continued to carry out suicide bombings, gun raids and kidnappings.

Nigerian troops of 22 Brigade deployed in Operation LAFIYA DOLE worked in conjunction with troops from Cameroon in the Multinational Joint Task Force.

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Photo courtesy Wikipedia Nigerian troops burnish a captured Boko Haram flag