Soldiers and civilians in Nigeria’s restive northeast joined forces to kill 150 Islamist militants and rescue 36 female and child prisoners on Tuesday night, the Associated Press reported.
The assault is a rare victory against Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorist group that over the past six years has claimed over 20,000 lives in Nigeria and neighboring countries. The Nigerian military has pledged to subdue the extremists, assembling with Niger, Chad, and Cameroon a transnational task force of nearly 9,000 soldiers to fight them.
Civilians who participated in Tuesday night’s assault said they acted on intelligence that Boko Haram was planning a major attack, but failed to disclose additional details. One fighter told the Associated Press that they successfully raided the group’s arsenal of guns and explosives.
Another military offensive on Wednesday against a Boko Haram base in Nganzai district — about 100 miles north of Tuesday night’s assault and 43 north of the state capital of Maiduguri — was a pyrrhic victory. A group of militants fleeing the assault opened fire on four vehicles as they escaped, killing the 20 people in those cars before setting the cars ablaze. They then looted and burned a nearby village.