The operation in the country's conflict-torn northeast also led to the capture of a Boko Haram commander, an army spokesman said in a statement late Sunday. The military said earlier that it had killed a "large number" of the extremists in air strikes in the northeast.
The operation took place on Sunday near Aulari, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) south of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, once a jihadist stronghold.
"During the offensive operations, 178 people held captive by the terrorists were rescued," military spokesman Colonel Tukur Gusau said, without specifying when the rescue took place.
"They include 101 children, 67 women and 10 men."
The Nigerian military has announced the release of hundreds of people held by Boko Haram in recent months, especially in the notorious Sambisa forest, a longtime Islamist stronghold.
The air strikes hit the village of Bita on the fringes of the forest not far from the Cameroonian border, where Boko Haram was preparing to launch an offensive, the military said. "Many" Islamists were killed, it added.
Sunday's rescue came after several attacks by Boko Haram in recent days. Thirteen people were killed in an assault on Malari village about 20 kilometres from Maiduguri.
Local farmer Moha Saleh confirmed the death toll and said 27 people were wounded when the Islamists stormed the village.
- 'They set houses ablaze' -
See pics after the cut..
The Nigerian military has announced the release of hundreds of people held captive by Boko Haram in recent months (AFP Photo/)
Nigerian soldiers talk to girls rescued during an operation against Boko Haram militants in the Sambisa Forest, Borno state, in April 2015 (AFP Photo/-)
A Boko Haram flag flutters from an abandoned command post in the Nigerian border town of Gamboru deserted after Chadian troops chased them from the town on February 4, 2015 (AFP Photo/Stephane Yas)
Chadian soldiers patrol the Nigerian border town of Gamboru as part of a four-nation assault on Boko Haram militants (AFP Photo/Stephane Yas)
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