LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria’s military says it has no news of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic extremists nearly a year ago, despite liberating dozens of towns from the girls’ Boko Haram abductors.

The admission of lack of progress on the missing schoolgirls comes as the Nigerian military, bolstered by forces from neighboring countries, is regaining towns and cities held by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. The military’s successes come as Nigeria prepares for a presidential election on March 28.

Other kidnap victims have escaped and some have been freed by the militants, but there has been not a whisper about the girls whose mass abduction spawned the #BringBackOurGirls campaign and provoked protests around the world.

The military this week “liberated completely” the two northeastern states of Yobe and Adamawa from the extremists, said army chief Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah. He said Boko Haram now holds only three of 27 local government areas in Borno, the third northeastern state under a military state of emergency and the birthplace of Boko Haram.

On Monday, the military said it had recaptured Bama, the second city of Borno state, as it prepares a final assault against the extremists. The victories follow an offensive launched in late January by troops from Chad.

Despite the lack of news on the schoolgirls, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, campaigning for re-election against former military dictator Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has repeated promises to rescue the girls.

“I am more hopeful now than before on the Chibok girls,” Jonathan said on Feb. 5. But unconfirmed reports indicate that many of the girls may have been forced into marriage, some carried across Nigeria’s borders and at least three died from snakebites and ailments.

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