Nigerian army rescues 200 schoolgirls from Boko Haram

The army is now profiling the girls to verify if they're the same girls who were kidnapped a year ago.

FILE: Nigerian government forces. Picture: supplied.

PRETORIA - The Nigerian army said that it rescued 200 girls and 93 women in the Sambisa Forest, but it can't confirm if any of those freed are the schoolgirls kidnapped a year ago.

The army announced the rescue on Twitter saying it's now screening and profiling the girls and women.

More than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped from Chibok in northeastern Nigeria by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram just over a year ago.

The militants took the schoolgirls in trucks into the Sambisa Forest and the girls have been missing since.

The plight of the schoolgirls has grabbed international attention and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

The Nigerian army announced two weeks ago that it is going into Sambisa Forest, which is a center for the Boko Haram fighters.

Around 230 people were killed, including at least 74 from Niger, at the weekend in the country's bloodiest battle yet with Boko Haram militants from neighbouring Nigeria, the government said on Tuesday.

Niger soldiers were initially overwhelmed when hundreds of the militants attacked the Lake Chad island of Karamga at dawn on Saturday aboard motorised canoes.

The island, attacked once before by Boko Haram in February, is prized by both sides as a strategic base among a vast maze of waterways and swampland.

The army said it has since wrestled it back from the guerrillas.

"On the side of our forces: 46 dead, 9 injured, 32 missing. On the enemy's side, 156 terrorists were killed. In addition, 28 residents of the island were assassinated by the terrorists," said interior minister Hassoumi Massoudou on state radio.

Niger forces had initially held back from giving a death toll as they searched for bodies among the mangroves.

It declared three days of national mourning beginning on Wednesday.

The attack comes despite significant military victories by Nigeria and regional allies Niger, Chad and Cameroon in winning back territory from Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.