Nigeria says it killed 74 Boko Haram fighters in Borno offensive


Nigerian soldiers patrol in the north of Borno state close to a former Boko Haram camp on June 5, 2013, near Maiduguri.


Quentin Leboucher/AFP/Getty Images

The Nigerian military said its soldiers killed 74 Boko Haram fighters in an offensive in the villages of Galangi and Lawanti in northeast Borno state on Thursday.

"The operation, which involved ground and aerial assault supported by the Nigerian Air Force, led to the destruction of the identified terrorist camps, killing 74 terrorists while others fled with serious injuries," Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Dole said in a statement Friday. Two Nigerian soldiers were wounded, Dole said.

Nigeria’s military said they killed another 37 Islamic militants in Borno in a similar operation last week.

It is difficult to verify the Nigerian army's claims about military operations, BBC News noted, since there has been no mobile phone network in Borno state for months.

The Nigerian military stepped up its efforts to rid the north of Boko Haram fighters in May, when Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three states.

The government’s assault on the Islamic militant forces in Borno state came the same day that Boko Haram troops raided a hospital in the city of Damatura in Yobe state, to the west.

Witnesses told the BBC that about 20 gunmen launched a “big, audacious attack” on the hospital, stealing medicine and using ambulances as their getaway vehicles.

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