LAGOS (AFP) - Five of the 19 soldiers who went missing after an ambush by Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria's volatile north-east have been found, the army has said.
The military launched a search for the troops after they went missing on Thursday (July 21) during a military operation in the town of Alagarno in Borno state, the epicentre of Boko Haram's seven-year Islamist insurgency.
Army spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement late on Saturday (July 23) that five of the soldiers had been found, including the unit's commanding officer.
"Although they are in a stable condition, they have been moved to our medical facilities for medical care," he said, adding that the other 14 are still unaccounted for.
Boko Haram's bid to form a hardline Islamic state has left at least 20,000 people dead in Nigeria and displaced more than 2.6 million people, with the violence spilling over into neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
A counter-offensive spearheaded by Nigeria since January last year has pushed the militants into remote border areas around Lake Chad.