ABUJA, Nigeria, April 19 (UPI) -- More than 30 Boko Haram insurgents were killed when they ambushed a Nigerian army contingent in Kareto, Nigeria, the army said Tuesday.
The attack by about 100 Boko Haram members Monday came during patrols by the army's "113 Battalion" in northern Borno state, a former stronghold of the Islamist terrorist group.
The military ground operation by the Nigerian army and a multinational force, with air cover by Nigeria's air force, is designed to sweep northern Nigeria on a village-by-village basis, capture Boko Haram members and supplies and free abducted residents.
Cameroonian Gen. Bouba Dobekreo said in early April that the ground forces are prepared to eradicate the Boko Haram threat in Nigeria.
Clashes on Friday killed 34 suspected Boko Haram members and freed 455 abducted people in Borno.
In Monday's confrontations, gunfire and improvised explosive devices injured 24 soldiers, Col. Sani Usman of the Nigerian Army said. Military sources said "scores" of Boko Haram forces "escaped with gunshot injuries," the Lagos-based newspaper Vanguard reported.
On Tuesday the army reported a separate incident -- a Boko Haram attack on the convoy of Brig. Gen. Victor Ezugwu, the Acting GOC (General Officer Commanding) in the Borno city of Bama. One soldier was killed and two were injured; an underdetermined number of insurgents were killed and supplies including weapons and ammunition were recovered. Ezugwu was not injured.
More than 20,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram and 2.3 million displaced since the terrorist group began its violent campaign in 2009 to forge an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria.
Boko Haram was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 2013. In 2015, the group pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State.