Niger troops rescued 11 villagers, four of them children, who had been captured and taken across the border of Niger into Nigeria by Boko Haram, local officials said on Monday.
The villagers were kidnapped on August 11 and 12 in two villages in Gueskerou, a district on the Niger side of Lake Chad.
Secretary of the Difa region governorate in southeast Niger, Yahaya Godi told AFP that, “The hostages were freed by our troops on the Nigerian side of Lake Chad near a Boko Haram base.”
“There are 11 people, including three women and four children, two of them babies, who were seized by the Boko Haram terrorist group,” according to Godi.
The troops tracked the jihadists and freed the hostages just as their families were about to pay ransom of two million CFA francs ($3,600), according to Niger’s state TV.
Guns and ammunition were recovered from the abductors.
“The army has delivered a heavy blow to the enemy,” said Godi, who welcomed the group of hostages after their ordeal.
The west African nation is facing jihadist attacks in the west from Mali and Burkina Faso and in the southeast by Boko Haram and a splinter group called Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).