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Boko Haram camps destroyed by Nigerian army

The Nigerian army said Friday it had destroyed a number of camps used by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram in the northeast of the country.

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Children sit in front of a burnt house in the remote northeast town of Baga on April 21, 2013 after two days of clashes between officers of the Joint Task Force and members of the Islamist sect Boko Haram on April 19 in the town near Lake Chad, 200 kms north of Maiduguri, in Borno State. Nigerian rescue workers set up temporary camps in Baga on April 25 and distributed aid to the masses displaced by brutal fighting that left 187 people dead. The bloodshed in Baga likely marked the deadliest-ever episode in the insurgency of Boko Haram, a radical group which has said it wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

The Nigerian army said Friday it had destroyed a number of camps used by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram in the northeast of the country.

Senior officer Brigadier General Chris Olukolade gave details of the military offensive at a news conference on Friday, showing photos of what he said were hospital facilities and dormitories set up by the militants in the camps. They also showed a destroyed fuel depot and what looked like bomb-making equipment.

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"These camps were mini-enclaves from which the insurgents planned their operations and from there they attacked neighboring communities, going to municipalities and returning there," Olukolade told BBC News.

"Most of their planning and activities was coordinated from these camps."

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan gave security control to the military when he declared a state of emergency in the states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, where Boko Haram has been most active.

Over 2,000 people have been killed since the militant group, whose name means "Western education is forbidden," started its offensive in 2009 to overthrow the Nigerian government and create an Islamic state.

There has been growing concern that Boko Haram could be backed by al Qaeda-linked militants in other countries.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/130525/boko-haram-camps-destroyed-nigerian-army