THE Nigerian Army has freed some 30 000 civilians kidnapped by the Boko Haram insurgents during an almost decade-long violent campaign to overthrow the government.
Mansur Dan-Ali, the Minister of Defence, disclosed the figures while speaking in Maduguri, the capital of the Borno State, which is the hotspot of the terror by the Islamic sect.
He said the military had during operations in the northeast of the country successfully degraded the capacity of the Boko Haram insurgents in the past couple of years.
"So far we have freed over 30 000 persons, mainly women and children held hostage by the terrorists," the minister said.
He added there had also been significant reduction in insecurity and crime in the oil-rich Niger Delta and other parts of the country, thanks to the commitment and support of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari came to power in 2015 on a campaign built on a pledge to eliminate the Boko Haram.
The insurgents have since their rebellion in 2009 killed an estimated 100 000 civilians and displaced over three million.
Infighting and intensified operations by the military have however weakened the sect.
The military has meanwhile paraded 26 suspects that have surrendered to the troops this past weekend.
They surrendered in the Damboa general area of southern Borno.
Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director Public Relations of Operation Lafiya Dole (Peace by Force) said some surrendered insurgents conceded the Boko Haram was "depleted and fatigued."
"Hence they have resort to abandoning the struggle and surrendering," Nwachukwu said.