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Key Boko Haram Leader Captured in Nigeria

FILE - Cameroon soldiers stand guard at a lookout post near the village of Fotokol as they take part in operations against the extremist group Boko Haram, Feb. 25, 2015.

Cameroon says the multinational joint forces fighting Boko Haram have captured five leaders of the radical Islamist group, including Boukar Kaou, traditional ruler of Kumche in Nigeria.

Dozens of the terrorists were killed and 60 women and children freed.

Cameroon's communication minister and government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma says 1,000 troops of the multinational joint task force fighting Boko Haram organized systematic raids between May 10 and 12 on Boko Haram bases in Nigeria's Madawaya forest, some seven kilometers from Cameroon's northern border, killing 58 Boko Haram fighters.

Tchiroma says 15 Nigerian women, three Cameroonian women and 28 children who had been held captive in the Boko Haram stronghold were freed and taken to Cameroon. He says huge quantities of war weapons were either destroyed or seized.

The minister says five leaders of the terrorist group, including the traditional leader of Kumshe and emir of the terrorist group, were arrested along side dozens of their supporters.

He says after a recent successful operation in Goshe and Kumche on the Nigerian territory, so many Boko Haram fighters escaped to the Madawaya forest and created camps for their fighters, where they also trained suicide bombers especially young women and girls. He says the destruction of their training camps have made the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to realize that the forest served as the main training ground for suicide bombers and child fighters that regularly attacked the two countries. He says none of the Cameroon and Nigerian forces were killed.

Cameroon believes the militants have resorted to suicide bombings because their fire-power has been drastically reduced following ceaseless attacks on their stronghold since December 2015 by an eight thousand-strong multinational joint task force with troops from Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Benin and Niger.

The United Nations reports that Boko Haram's six-year insurgency has killed more than 25,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million.