Nigeria’s army has captured Boko Haram’s last enclave in the vast Sambisa forest that was the Islamist group’s stronghold, the country’s president has announced.
“I was told by the chief of army staff that the camp fell at about 1.35pm on Friday and that the terrorists are on the run and no longer have a place to hide,” Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement.
He said the capture of the camp marked the “final crushing of Boko Haramterrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest”, which is in Borno state in north-east Nigeria.
It follows a large-scale offensive in the forest by the Nigerian military in the last few weeks. Reuters was unable to independently verify whether the camp had been captured.
The military had said in the last few days that Boko Haram fighters were fleeing into surrounding areas, and locals were told to be vigilant.
Boko Haram has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million during its seven-year insurgency to create an Islamic state governed by a strict interpretation of sharia law.
In early 2015 the group controlled an area around the size of Belgium, but it has since been pushed out of most of that territory by Nigeria’s army and troops from neighbouring countries.