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Nigeria: Boko Haram Fighters, Families Arrested

FILE - Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram attacks continue to enter Chad; men on camels cross the water as a woman washes clothes in Lake Chad at Ngouboua, Jan. 19, 2015.

Military authorities say Nigerian soldiers have arrested more than 400 people associated with the Boko Haram extremist group hiding on the islands of Lake Chad, including fighters, wives and children.

Col. Onyema Nwachukwu says the two-week operation netted the largest number of arrests of Boko Haram fighters in recent months in northeast Nigeria. It included air and ground offensives targeting insurgents’ locations.

Nwachukwu says the military arrested 167 Boko Haram fighters, 67 women and 173 children who were family members of the insurgents. The women and children will be handed over to authorities of displacement camps after investigations.

Nwachukwu says another 57 insurgents were arrested during a separate operation in another part of the troubled region.

Boko Haram has been blamed for more than 20,000 deaths during its eight-year insurgency.