Cameroon’s government has said a multi-national military action has freed 900 hostages of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. Joint forces from Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Benin reportedly killed over 100 militants and arrested 100 more in late November. The military operations appear to have taken place in the Sambisa Forest, located in northern Cameroon and northeastern Nigeria. Soldiers who raided the Boko Haram groups seized weapons, munitions, and black-and-white flags of the Islamic State group. Joseph Beti Assomo, Cameroon’s defense minister, made the announcement on public radio Dec. 2. There was no independent confirmation of his report, BBC News says. It was not clear where the captives had been held. It was not known whether the freed captives included any of the 219 girls captured in an infamous Boko Haram raid at a school in Chibok, Nigeria last year. Some hostages were being trained as suicide bombers, fighters and thieves, the Associated Press said. Freed captives are being reunited with their families. Assomo said trauma care is being made available for the hostages, including women and girls who might have been used as sex slaves. Military operations against the extremist group have reduced their territory. However, Boko Haram has begun frequent, deadly suicide attacks. Since the Boko Haram uprising began in 2009, an estimated 20,000 people have been killed and 2.3 million people have been displaced from their homes. The group has allied with the Islamic State group operating in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Catholic News Agency was founded in 2004, in response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization." It is an apostolate of EWTN News.