(AA) – Nigerian authorities have confirmed the rescue of 234 more women and children from the Sambisa Forest, a Boko Haram stronghold in the country’s restive northeastern region.
“I can confirm to you that additional 234 women and girls have been rescued,” Nigerian defense spokesman Chris Olukolade told The Anadolu Agency late Friday.
A total of 453 hostages were recently freed by the Nigerian army in two separate operations from the Sambisa Forest.
The army announced late Wednesday the liberation of at least 160 women and children from the Sambisa Forest.
A day earlier, troops charging through Sambisa rescued 200 girls and 93 women.
Olukolade did not specifying whether the new set of freed women and girls included any of the over 200 schoolgirls Boko Haram had abducted last year April.
One year ago, Boko Haram militants abducted 276 schoolgirls from Borno State’s sleepy town of Chibok.
Only 57 of them have since escaped captivity, while 219 are still thought to be held by the militant group.
The Nigerian military – backed by Nigerien and Chadian troops – recently liberated all territory captured earlier by Boko Haram in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
In the face of the government’s recent onslaught, Boko Haram militants are believed to have retreated back into the forest.
The forest extends from Borno State into parts of Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe states – all in the northeast – and into parts of Jigawa State and elsewhere in the country’s northwest.