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Nigerian army captures key Boko Haram stronghold, President Muhammadu Buhari says
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has declared Boko Haram has been "crushed", with soldiers flushing out the militant group's last enclave in the vast north-eastern Sambisa forest.
"I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the camp fell ... and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide," Mr Buhari said in an emailed statement.
Boko Haram has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than two million during its seven-year insurgency to create an Islamic state governed by a strict interpretation of sharia law in the north-east of Africa's most populous nation.
The jihadist group controlled an area in the north-east around the size of Belgium in early 2015 but has been pushed out of most of that territory over the last year by Nigeria's army and troops from neighbouring countries, moving to a base in the Sambisa forest, a former colonial game reserve.
Mr Buhari said the capture of Camp Zero marked the "final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest", in the north-east of Nigeria's Borno state.
It followed 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 said in the last few days that Boko Haram fighters were running away from the forest into surrounding areas and people have been told to be vigilant.
Earlier this month, the United Nations warned as many as 75,000 people could die in north-eastern Nigeria in the next 12 months unless there was a renewed contribution from the international community.
The UN said there were predictions of a major famine, mainly due to the insecurity brought about by Boko Haram.
[Source: ABC News, Sydney, Aus, 24Dec16]
Islamic paramilitary organizations
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