Nigeria forces kill 56 Boko Haram militia

Boko Haram are fighting to impose strict Islamic law in Nigeria's Muslim-populated north.

Nigerian govt forces killed at least 56 Boko Haram fighters in a combined air and ground offensive in the northeast on 30 December 2013. Picture: supplied.

ABUJA - Nigerian government forces killed at least 56 Boko Haram fighters in a combined air and ground offensive in the northeast, the military said on Monday.

Two government soldiers were been wounded during the battle in Alafa forest on Saturday, army spokesman Captain Aliyu Danja said in a statement.

The figures could not be immediately verified.

The military often reports significant casualties among Boko Haram, an insurgent group fighting for the past four and a half years to impose Sharia or strict Islamic law in Nigeria's Muslim-populated north.

Nigerian forces have stepped up an offensive against Boko Haram in the past two weeks after some setbacks, including a 2 December coordinated strike by the militia on the air force base and military barracks in the main northeastern city of Maiduguri.

On Friday, the army announced a reshuffle of commanders, including the heads of logistics, the armoured corps and the general in charge of the anti-Boko Haram campaign in the northeast, but gave no reason for the moves.

"Over 56 terrorists were killed during the encounter while several others fled with gunshot wounds. Weapons, equipment and vehicles belonging to the terrorists were also destroyed by the troops' ground and air strikes," Danja said.

Thousands have died in violence since Boko Haram first launched an uprising against the Nigerian state in 2009.

On Monday, suspected fighters from the radical Islamic group opened fire on a bachelor party in northeast Nigeria, killing eight people and wounding several others, witnesses said on Sunday.