The Nigerian military said it destroyed 10 Boko Haram camps in the country's remote northeast on Sunday as it pressed on with an offensive against armed fighters belonging to the feared group.
A military statement said Nigerian troops has killed many Boko Haram adherents in the Sambisa Forest and captured several armored vehicles and anti-aircraft weapons. One soldier was killed by a land mine explosion, the statement added.
One of Boko Haram’s stated goals is to establish a state ruled by its interpretation of Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria. It has grabbed headlines with grisly attacks and the kidnappings of hundreds of schoolchildren over the last year.
Thousands of people have been killed and several million displaced in Nigeria's six-year battle against the group, which once controlled an area the size of Belgium.
But Nigeria — with help from its neighbors Chad, Niger and Cameroon — has launched a series of offensives this year against the group, recapturing nearly all the occupied territory, according to authorities, and pushing the remaining fighters into the Sambisa Forest.
Boko Haram hit back with a series of raids over the last week, including two assaults on Maiduguri, the capital of the northeastern state of Borno.
"The Nigerian air force is maintaining an active air surveillance to track the movement of terrorists for appropriate action as the operation continues," said Chris Olukolade, a military spokesman.
There has been no comment from Boko Haram, which occasionally puts out statements and videos on social media.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan is keen to announce that the group has been cleared from the northeast before he leaves office at the end of the month.
But experts have warned against any premature declaration of victory, with the roots of the conflict, particularly chronic social and economic deprivation in the region, yet to be addressed.
On Saturday, seven people were killed and scores injured at a bus station in the Yobe state capital, Damaturu, which Boko Haram has hit repeatedly during the conflict. The attack indicates the fighters' ability to strike soft targets and its persistent threat to civilians, despite claimed military gains in seizing captured towns and territory.
Although the government forces have had the upper hand since February, setbacks persist. On Friday the deputy governor of Borno said the strategic town of Marte, near Lake Chad, where Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon meet, again fell into Boko Haram hands.
At least 55 people were killed last week in two raids on villages near Maiduguri — the first attacks in and around the city in three months.
Olukolade said in a separate statement that Marte was "deserted," with no military presence for "quite some time" because of the push against the fighters in the Sambisa Forest.
"Now that [Boko Haram's] presence is reported, the issue will definitely be addressed in a very short while," he added.