Nigerian military says it has rescued 178 captives from Boko Haram

Updated 11:54 AM EDT, Mon August 3, 2015
(CNN) —  

Nigerian forces have freed 178 captives held by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram during military operations in the country’s violence-plagued northeast, an army spokesman said Monday.

Those rescued in the operations near the town of Bama include 101 children, 67 women and 10 men, Col. Tukur Gusau said in a statement.

Photos released by the army showed open trucks packed full of women, children and elderly men.

Gusau said the military captured a Boko Haram commander.

Bama is in Borno state, Boko Haram’s birth place and main stronghold.

The group has mounted a campaign of bombings, kidnappings and deadly raids in recent years. It says it wants stricter enforcement of Sharia law across Nigeria, which is split between a majority Muslim north and a mostly Christian south.