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Boko Haram Crisis: Nigeria Begins Sambisa Ground Offensive

In this photo taken Monday March 9, 2015, Nigerian troops patrol in the north-eastern Nigeria city of Mubi, some 20 kms (14 miles) west of the Cameroon border. Nigerian troops recaptured Mubi from Boko Haram militants in February 2015. On Friday March 13, 2015, the Islamic State group's media arm Al-Furqan, in an audio recording by spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, said that Boko Haram's pledge of allegiance has been accepted, claiming the caliphate has now expanded to West Africa. (AP Photo/str)
In this photo taken Monday March 9, 2015, Nigerian troops patrol in the north-eastern Nigeria city of Mubi, some 20 kms (14 miles) west of the Cameroon border. Nigerian troops recaptured Mubi from Boko Haram militants in February 2015. (AP Photo/str)

(BBC) – Nigerian ground troops have joined an offensive on the last known hideout of the Boko Haram Islamist militants, a military spokesman has told the BBC.

The vast north-eastern Sambisa forest is where they have many bases – and it has been subject to aerial bombardments since February.

There has been speculation that some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than a year ago are being held there.

Boko Haram has killed thousands in northern Nigeria since 2009.

Nigeria’s military, backed by troops from neighbouring countries, launched an offensive against Boko Haram in February – and has recaptured most of the territory the militants had taken in the previous year.

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