ABUJA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Scores of gunmen were killed following airstrikes by the Nigerian military targeting a notorious camp inside a forest in the restive northwest region, an official said on Sunday.
John Enenche, a spokesman for the military, said in a statement made available to Xinhua that the operation, in which fighter jets and helicopter gunships were deployed to the location, took place on July 10 in Kwiambana Forest of the northern state of Zamfara.
Several other gunmen, believed to be bandits by the military authorities, were also wounded in a mop-up operation that followed the airstrikes, Enenche said.
They were spotted fleeing on foot and about 15 motorcycles.
The airstrikes were sequel to a discovery that a group of structures hidden under the dense forest vegetation served as hideouts for suspected Islamic State West Africa Province militants. The camp, according to the military official, was headed by a notorious armed group leader identified as Dodo Gede.
The spokesman said the operation was one of the multiple military operations in Nigeria's northwest region that has been wracked by years of violence.
Banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities have recently become rampant in the northwest region. The military high command said they are in control of the situation with multiple ongoing operations against the gunmen.