Nigeria claims to have killed over 300 Boko Haram militants
A Nigerian woman, with an injured leg sustained during her exodus from Maiduguri to the city of Kano, fleeing Boko Haram Islamists, sits in a room she shares with 78 others displaced in a run down house. (AFP/File)
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“Over 300 terrorists were killed while a few were also captured,” Major General Chris Olukolade, Nigeria’s Defense Ministry spokesman, said on Wednesday in an emailed statement.
According to Olukolade, the “massive” casualties came after the army successfully liberated Monguno and 10 other nearby communities.
Two Nigerian soldiers lost their lives and 10 others sustained injuries during the operation, Olukolade said.
Talking to AFP, Monguno’s civilians confirmed the recapture of the town by Nigerian forces but there was no immediate verification of the claim on the number of Boko Haram casualties.
Nigeria’s military regained control of the town, which is located about 125 kilometers (80 miles) north of Maiduguri, on February 16.
The Monguno takeover by Boko Haram on January 25 triggered fears that they might use the town to stage offensives against Maiduguri. The militants stormed Maiduguri on February 1 before being repelled.
According to the Nigerian general, the army forces are still doing cordon and search operation and patrolling the streets in a bid to clear the town and surrounding communities.
In another recent development on Tuesday, Abubakr Shekau, the purported leader of Boko Haram, threatened the upcoming elections in a video message.
“This election will not be held even if we are dead,” he said in a video released on Twitter.
The warning came hours after the terrorist group carried on two separate bomb attacks in the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, where 36 people died and 33 others were injured.
The terrorists have already forced a delay in the polls, initially set for February 14. Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission shifted the elections to March 28.
The violence fueled by Boko Haram militants has killed at least 13,000 people and rendered more than a million others homeless since 2009.