The Nigerian military says it has rescued 149 women and children abducted by the armed group Boko Haram in the country’s northeast.
Onyema Nwachuku, army spokesman, said on Sunday the freed captives included 54 women and 95 children, according to the NAN news agency.
“The rescued hostages are currently receiving medical attention,” he said in a statement, adding that they would be “profiled after the medical screening”.
The rescues took place during a raid on a Boko Haram hideout in the community of Yerimari Kura on Saturday. Soldiers killed three fighters during the operation and captured five others suspected of belonging to the group, Nwachuku said.
His statement did not specify when the women and children had been abducted.
Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Abuja, capital of Nigeria, said the number of people Boko Haram had kidnapped in Yerimari Kura “demonstrated the group’s resilience”, despite losing significant swaths of territory to the Nigerian army in recent years.
Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates to “Western education is forbidden”, has waged a nearly 10-year armed campaign to create an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria.
The conflict has left at least 20,000 people dead and displaced more than 2.6 million.