Hundreds of Boko Haram fighters and their families have surrendered in Chad in the past month, security and U.N. sources said.
According to the UN this a sign that the military campaign against the terrorist group is making headway.
Boko Haram, which has killed and kidnapped thousands of people, had seised an area in northeastern Nigeria by last year but has since lost significant ground amid growing regional military pressure.
The surrenders are taking place because of the firepower of our operations.
Defections of Boko Haram fighters have been reported in Nigeria but are not known to have previously occurred on such a large scale.
Chief Military Public Information Officer for the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) headquartered in Chad’s Colonel Mohammad Dole said they surrendered to their troops on the front line in Lake Chad.
“The surrenders are taking place because of the firepower of our operations. The groups, many of them armed, have been arriving since September and their number keeps increasing,” he said.
Dole said some 240 fighters, most off whom are Chadian, are now being held in detention along with their families.
The MNJTF, with troops from Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Benin and intelligence, training and logistical support from the United States, launched a regional operation in July against the group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.