The Nigerian Army reported in an emailed statement on Sunday 26 June that it raided 15 villages in the remote north-east of the country as part of its continuing operation to defeat Islamist militant group Boko Haram. In the process, the army freed 5,000 people held hostage by the insurgents.
For the past seven years, Boko Haram has fought to establish an Islamic State in the region. Their main targets are Christians, Western-style educational establishments (i.e. not Islamic), and security forces. More than 15,000 people have been killed, thousands more taken hostage, and 2 million displaced in Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon during Boko Haram’s insurgency. In the last year, Nigeria’s armed forces, sometimes supported by troops from neighbouring countries, have recaptured most of the territory that the Islamists had claimed.