Nigerian security forces have killed dozens of suspected members of the jihadist group Boko Haram. According to reports in Nigeria's Daily Post, the offensive was concentrated in the so-called Timbuktu Triangle, in the Sambisa forest.
In the north-east of the African country, the jihadists are heavily entrenched, making it impossible for the security forces to track them down for years.
Nigerian troops on Thursday evening thwarted an attempt by Boko Haram to attack Gamboru Ngala in Borno State. Soldiers overwhelmed the insurgents with superior firepower.
Military sources told PRNigeria that the terrorists advanced towards the town from various locations. The troops, that had dominated the area based on intelligence, opened fire and killed a number of the sect members. They recovered a gun truck, motorcycles and weapons.
The general area is being combed in search of terrorists in hiding. Nigerian troops and Multinational forces are continuing Operation Tura TaKai Bango, the first major offensive of 2021.
The army offensive, supported by the air force, has rescued an unknown number of civilians abducted by the group.
Boko Haram is the name given by the country's authorities to the Islamic State jihadist group, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and the faction led by Abubakar Shekau.
The terrorists have carried out attacks in Cameroon, Chad and Niger despite Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's claim that the group has been defeated. The army had also intensified its actions in the Lake Chad area where the Shekau-led faction and ISWA are located.
Last week the president announced a reshuffle at the top of the armed forces. Without explaining the reason for the move, it is believed to be due to the insecurity that persists in some parts of the country.
Attacks in Nigeria that began in the north-east of the country have spread over the past few months to other areas in the north and north-east. This has led to a high level of alert due to the possible spread of these jihadist networks.
One of the latest attacks attributed to Boko Haram left at least a dozen civilians, including eight children, killed in a village in northern Cameroon in January when a female suicide bomber blew herself up.
More than 36,000 people have been killed, most of them in Nigeria, and three million people have fled their homes since Boko Haram launched its uprising in northeastern Nigeria in 2009.