Nigeria’s military claimed Tuesday to have seriously injured Boko Haram’s elusive leader Abubakar Shekau and killed other commanders in an air strike on the Islamist group’s forest stronghold.
The announcement was met with scepticism by Boko Haram experts who pointed out that Nigeria has repeatedly claimed to have killed Shekau in previous raids only for the militant leader to surface shortly afterwards in videos.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is on a visit to the northern Nigerian city of Sokoto, praised the country for its recent gains against the Islamic insurgents but made no mention of the claims that the group’s leader was injured.
Shekau was “fatally wounded in the shoulder” during Friday’s raids, said army spokesman Sani Usman in a statement, without giving further details.
“I said wounded, if there is any other development I will let you know,” Usman told AFP in a text message.
Usman also said three Boko Haram commanders — Abubakar Mubi, Malam Nuhu and Malam Hamman — were confirmed dead with several others injured.
The claim comes as Kerry visits the country on a two-day trip for talks likely to focus on the fight against Boko Haram and the sputtering economy.
“It is unclear if there is any other confirmation that Shekau himself has died of his wounds, and we should remember that Shekau has been claimed dead on a number of occasions before,” Omar Mahmood, a researcher at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, told AFP.
Source: National News Agency