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Nigerian soldiers free 71 children, women from Boko Haram, hold them at military barracks

  • Women and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists in the northeast of Nigeria arrive at the military office in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Thursday, July 30, 2015. Soldiers rescued 71 people, almost all girls and women, in firefights that killed many Boko Haram militants in villages near the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria’s military said Thursday. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

    Women and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists in the northeast of Nigeria arrive at the military office in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Thursday, July 30, 2015. Soldiers rescued 71 people, almost all girls and women, in firefights that killed many Boko Haram militants in villages near the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria’s military said Thursday. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)  (The Associated Press)

  • Women and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists in northeast Nigeria eat a meal on their arrival at the Military office in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Thursday, July 30, 2015. Soldiers rescued 71 people, almost all girls and women, in firefights that killed many Boko Haram militants in villages near the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria’s military said Thursday. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

    Women and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists in northeast Nigeria eat a meal on their arrival at the Military office in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Thursday, July 30, 2015. Soldiers rescued 71 people, almost all girls and women, in firefights that killed many Boko Haram militants in villages near the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria’s military said Thursday. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)  (The Associated Press)

  • Men and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists in northeast Nigeria, eat a meal on their arrival at the military office in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Thursday, July 30, 2015. Soldiers rescued 71 people, almost all girls and women, in firefights that killed many Boko Haram militants in villages near the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria’s military said Thursday. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

    Men and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists in northeast Nigeria, eat a meal on their arrival at the military office in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Thursday, July 30, 2015. Soldiers rescued 71 people, almost all girls and women, in firefights that killed many Boko Haram militants in villages near the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria’s military said Thursday. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)  (The Associated Press)

Nigeria's military says soldiers rescued 71 girls and women in firefights that killed several Boko Haram militants in the country's northeast.

Some of the captives say they were in the clutches of the Islamic extremists for as long as a year.

One young woman, Yagana Kyari, says she was just "waiting for death" because the jihadis constantly threatened to kill their victims.

Army spokesman Col. I. T. Gusau says 12 people were rescued on Wednesday and 59 on Thursday from villages about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Maiduguri, the biggest city in the northeast.

Hundreds of captives were freed in March when Nigeria's military declared it had seized back all towns held by Boko Haram. But the extremists continue to launch suicide bombings and attacks from remote villages.