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Children rescued from Boko Haram in Sambisa forest wash their hands at the Malkohi camp for Internally Displaced People in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria on May 3.

AFOLABI SOTUNDE/Reuters

Self-defence fighters said Wednesday they fought alongside Nigerian soldiers to kill 150 Boko Haram militants and rescue 36 child and women captives of the Islamic uprising in the country's northeast.

Jubilant civilians who participated in Tuesday night's assault said they went to the Madagali and Gwoza areas acting on intelligence that the extremists were planning a large attack.

Self-defence fighter Bukar Jimeta said they killed at least 150 militants and recovered guns and explosives used in suicide bombings that have killed hundreds in recent months.

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Civilian hunter Young Morris said they rescued 36 kidnapped children and women.

Nigeria's military has been promising a final onslaught against the militants whose six-year uprising has killed 20,000 people. On Tuesday, they called for insurgents to surrender. Boko Haram denies scores of extremists have turned themselves in.

The group is suspected to have killed two soldiers in neighbouring Niger on Wednesday, said Hassam Ardo Ido, secretary-general of the government of Diffa.

Jihadists went to the Diffa town barracks at 2 a.m. on Wednesday and detonated explosives at the door, killing two soldiers, he said. Diffa is near the border with Nigeria.

Boko Haram members have repeatedly struck Diffa over the past year because Niger's military is among those taking part in a regional effort to defeat the extremists. The group's members were also suspects in a bombing there that killed seven people earlier this month.

Niger is home to more than 138,000 refugees who have fled attacks in Nigeria, the U.N. says.

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