Nigeria police

Up to 250 militants of an extremist group were killed in a combat operation by the police in Nigeria’s central northern state of Kaduna, a police spokesman said on Thursday.

High profile members of the outlawed Ansaru extremist group were among those killed when a combined team of the police forces, backed by helicopters, launched the operation on Wednesday against the group’s hideout at Kuduru Forest in Kaduna, Frank Mba, the national police spokesman said in a statement made available to Xinhua in Abuja.

The operation in the Kuduru forest in the neighborhood of Birnin Gwari in Kaduna lasted for several hours, Mba said.

“The operation, which commenced in the early hours of Wednesday, was necessitated by actionable intelligence linking terror and criminal elements in the super-camp to series of terror-related violence, kidnappings, gun-running, cattle rustling and other heinous crimes across the country,” Mba said.

One police helicopter, which provided aerial and intelligence cover for the ground troops was hit by the militants using “sophisticated anti-aircraft rifles”, he said.

The police spokesperson said the pilot and the co-pilot successfully landed the aircraft at the air force base in Kaduna, and both officers who “sustained non-life threatening injuries” had received treatment.

Mba said the Ansaru group had been terrorizing citizens in the northern part of the country, killing and kidnapping citizens, as well as other violent crimes.

According to local media, Ansaru announced its existence in 2012,and has since carried out a spate of kidnappings, particularly of foreign nationals. Reports said the group was a splinter from Boko Haram. Enditem

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