Nigerian and Cameroon forces killed 15 Boko Haram insurgents during gun battles to clear the Lake Chad region of the violent group, officials said on Thursday.
A statement by Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, spokesman of the counter-insurgency operation in the country’s troubled northeast, said a joint operation of Nigerian and Cameroonian forces in the southern Lake Chad Basin region on Wednesday engaged Boko Haram militants in fierce battle at various locations. The troops also recovered an arms cache, he said.
"Combined troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and the Cameroonian Defence Forces have killed 15 Boko Haram insurgents in separate encounters in Southern Lake Chad Basin," Nwachukwu said.
He said the military troops "dislodged the insurgents from their hideouts after a fierce battle."
Four men, 33 women, and 16 child hostages were also rescued from the insurgents' camp, Nwachukwu said.
He said the military has started interviewing the rescued hostages before taking them to camps for displaced persons.
Boko Haram has recently stepped up attacks on communities, including suicide bombings in the northeast.
On Tuesday, a male suicide bomber suspected to be Boko Haram detonated explosives near Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, killing five local security volunteers.
The attack came when the military announced a major offensive against the insurgents called Operation Last Hold to clear Boko Haram from the Lake Chad Basin area and return those displaced by the nearly nine-year conflict to their homes to start farming and fishing.
The Lake Chad Basin region extends to the extreme north of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
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