Nigerian forces free 241 women, children in Boko Haram camps, arrest kingpin

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Story highlights

  • Nigeria's military says it freed hostages, arrested 43 militants and destroyed Boko Haram camps
  • Boko Haram terrorists appeared to be abandoning posts during raids, an army spokesman tells newspaper

(CNN)The Nigerian military rescued 241 women and children in a raid on two camps controlled by the Boko Haram terrorist group, the country's military said Wednesday.

The Tuesday operation unfolded in the villages of Jangurori and Bulatori, the statement said.
    The operations also netted the arrests of 43 militants belonging to the Islamist group, including a local leader, Bulama Modu, who the Nigerian military says was acting as the "emir" of the village of Bulakuri.
    The raids destroyed both camps, army spokesman Col. Sani Usman told Punch, a Nigerian newspaper. The military also confiscated weapons, some of which were buried by militants who appeared to be abandoning their posts during the raid, he told the paper.
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    "Apart from arms and ammunitions, bows and arrows recovered from Bulama Modu, the kingpin, he confirmed that the terrorists also gave him a horse to enhance his deadly pursuits," Usman told Punch.
    Troops also arrested a suspected militant in Wudla village who provided the names of terrorists who helped stage an attack in northern Cameroon this month, Usman said. They hailed from Dara Jamel, where the insurgents operate a bomb factory, he told Punch.
    On September 3, Boko Haram militants "came in from across the hills in Nigeria" and attacked a crowded market in Kerawa, Cameroon, Col. Didier Badjeck, a spokesman for Cameroon's military, told CNN. The militants also attacked an infirmary near a Cameroonian military camp, Badjeck said.
    The attacks left an estimated 30 people dead and another 145 people injured.
    Days before, Boko Haram terrorists rode into the northeast Nigerian village of Baanu on horseback and fatally shot 68 people, according to residents and a local militia.
    Boko Haram has increasingly and violently asserted itself not only in Cameroon and its home base of Nigeria, but also in other western and central African countries, including Niger, Benin and Chad.
    It wants to impose a strict version of Sharia law across Nigeria, and in that effort, it has perpetrated bombings of marketplaces, churches, mosques and other public gathering spots. Kidnappings are also one of the group's hallmarks, the most notorious coming last year when it abducted more than 200 girls from a school in the northeastern Nigerian city of Chibok.
    Those girls' fates remain a mystery.