Nigerian Army Says Kills 300 Boko Haram Militants in Counter Offensive

Lanre Ola, Felix Bate
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A handout picture taken on February 15, 2015 and released on February 18, 2015 by Nigerian army shows a Boko Haram fighters' anti-aircraft gun destroyed by the Nigerian military at Monguno.Credit: AFP
Lanre Ola, Felix Bate

REUTERS - Nigerian forces have killed more than 300 Boko Haram fighters during an operation to recapture 11 towns and villages since the start of the week, the military said on Wednesday, as regional neighbours also pounded the militants. 

"Weapons and equipment were also captured and some destroyed," defense spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade said in a statement. "However, two soldiers lost their lives while 10 others were wounded," he added. 

It was not possible to independently verify the military's statement. Nigerian forces have in past been accused of overstating enemy casualties while greatly understating their own and those of civilians caught in the cross fire. 

Cameroonian forces supported by Chad's airforce meanwhile carried out air strikes and used heavy artillery against Boko Haram in the village of Gourgouroon, on the Nigeria-Cameroon border, Cameroon army spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck said.

Boko Haram's relentless attacks on military and civilians have killed thousands since the group launched its violent campaign for a breakaway Islamic state in mid-2009, threatening the stability of Africa's biggest economy and top oil producer as well as that of the entire region. 

But in the past two weeks the tide has appeared to turn against them, as neighbours Chad, Cameroon and Niger, all of whomare plagued by Boko Haram insurgents, have weighed in more heavily with coordinated military strikes. 

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