Nigeria army
Nigerian soldiers patrol in the north of Borno state close to a Boko Haram former camp near Maiduguri Getty Images

The Nigerian military has rescued 338 captives from Boko Haram near the Islamist insurgents' Sambisa Forest stronghold in the country's north-east. The abducted people were mostly women and children.

According to a Nigerian Defence Headquarters statement on Facebook, 30 militants were killed during attacks on two Boko Haram camps on the outskirts of the Sambisa Forest. The soldiers also seized a variety of weapons, including machine guns and ammunition.

"The rescued persons which comprised of male 8, female 138 and children 192, have since been evacuated to Mubi," the statement read. "In a related development, troops based on a tip off, ambushed and killed 4 suspected Boko Haram terrorists on a suicide bombing mission to Gubula, Madagali Local Government Area, Adamawa State." The military added that it also retrieved AK-47 rifles, mortar bombs and "Unexploded Ordinances (UXOs)".

Speaking to, Nigerian army public relations director, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman said that ""the successful clearance operations and ambushing of the terrorists has further degraded them and saved the lives of so many innocent victims of their suicide bombings".

It is uncertain whether any of the 219 schoolgirls who were kidnapped in Chibok in 2014, were among the rescued. Pictures released by the army show women with children and soldiers carrying crates from a building.

Boko Haram has waged a bloody six-year campaign since it launched military operations in 2009, killing an estimated 20,000 people in Nigeria. The group has also driven some 2.3m people from their homes, according to Amnesty International and the UN. The organisation is allied with the Islamic State (IS) and now calls itself the "Islamic State's West Africa Province" (Iswap). In recent months, the group has carried out a series of suicide bombing attacks on mosques and markets, killing hundreds of civilians.