Nigeria's military rescued 234 more girls and women from a Boko Haram forest stronghold in the country's northeast, an announcement on social media said Saturday, bringing the total number of women and girls set free this week to nearly 700.
The rescues coincide with a Nigerian army campaign that has deployed ground troops to Sambisa Forest after weeks of punishing air raids on the area. Sambisa Forest is considered the last holdout of the armed group.
Outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan, whose term ends this month, pledged Thursday to "hand over a Nigeria completely free of terrorist strongholds." President-elect Muhammadu Buhari will officially take office on May 29.
The rights groups estimates that Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 2,000 girls and women since the start of last year, turning them into cooks, sex slaves and fighters, and sometimes killing those who refused to comply. Nigeria's army has reported rescuing only women.
Daniel Eyre, a Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International, told Al Jazeera that since the beginning of 2014, Boko Haram has launched more than 300 attacks on towns and villages in which they would "shoot men of fighting age, loot any supplies they required and burn houses and government buildings to the ground" and "often round up and take with them young girls and women."
Amnesty International has called on authorities "to ensure that the trauma of those 'rescued' is not exacerbated by lengthy security screening in detention."
Nigeria's military says it has flown in medical and intelligence teams to screen the rescued girls and women and find out their identities.
It is not known if any are the schoolgirls kidnapped from a boarding school in Chibok town a year ago — a mass kidnapping that drew international condemnation.
The organizers behind the campaign to find the Chibok schoolgirls have called on the military and the government to release more information about the identities of those who were rescued this week. Nigeria authorities have said none of the so-called "Chibok girls" were found in the other rescues earlier in the week.
Some of the freed women and girls are pregnant, Muhammad Gavi, a spokesman for a self-defense group that fights Boko Haram, said citing information from group members who have seen the females.
A counselor who has helped rehabilitate other women held captive by Boko Haram told the AP that some identify with the insurgents' ideology after months of captivity and forced marriages. It remains unclear if some of the women had willingly joined Boko Haram, or are family members of fighters.
The Nigerian military Friday released photos of about 20 children and women they said were taken between Tuesday and Thursday in the Sambisa Forest. Most appear generally healthy, but at least one child looks emaciated, and some have orange-colored hair, which often signals severe malnutrition.
Boko Haram continues to attack in isolated places. In the neighboring country of Niger, the governor of a province has ordered residents living near Lake Chad to evacuate by Monday when troops will flush the militants from hideouts, said a government official.
A Boko Haram attack on Karamga island in Lake Chad last weekend killed 156 militants, 46 Niger soldiers and 28 civilians, Niger's government said.
As the insurgency spilled over Nigeria's borders, a multinational force consisting of Nigeria and its neighbors deployed at the end of January and has retaken towns and villages where Boko Haram had declared an Islamic caliphate. Nigeria's military, which had largely failed to curb the rebellion, has been reinvigorated by new weapons including helicopter gunships.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press. Yvonne Ndege contributed to this report from Abuja.