Chadian troops have reportedly freed several hostages captured by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria on August 10. However, a number still remain in captivity, according to authorities.
Chadian troops have rescued some 85 people kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists from fishing communities in Nigeria's remote northeast earlier this month, security and human rights sources say.
"We received communication from our Chadian counterparts of the interception of a convoy of buses carrying 85 Nigerians believed to have been kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from Baga," a senior security official in the capital of Borno State, Maiduguri, told the news agency AFP on Saturday.
He said the militants sped off in motorboats across Lake Chad when they saw soldiers interrogating the convoy, led by six Boko Haram gunmen, in a routine check. The lake lies on the border between Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
Another Nigerian official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said some Boko Haram fighters were killed in the operation.
An official of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Maiduguri said 65 men and 22 women had been rescued, but that more than 30 are thought to be still being held by the extremists.
The abductions took place on August 10 during a militant raid on the remote northeastern village of Doron Baga in which 28 people were killed and scores of homes burnt, according to residents.
Boko Haram says it wants to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The group is accused of having killed more than 5,000 civilians in the course of an insurgency that began in 2009.
More than 2,000 have been killed this year alone, while nearly 650,000 have been displaced.
The group has also been blamed for kidnapping hundreds of pepole in the northeast to use as conscripts, wives and slaves.
The abduction on April 14 of more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno town of Chibok focused international attention on the terrorist group's activities, and drew offers of help from Western powers. The girls, however, remain in captivity, with their whereabouts unknown.
tj/ipj (AFP, AP)