DAKAR, Senegal — The Nigerian navy stated on Tuesday that airstrikes had killed and wounded a number of prime Boko Haram commanders within the Sambisa Forest within the nation’s northeast, the place militants have been hiding for months.
Among the many wounded was Abubakar Shekau, who took the helm of the group after the demise of its founder in 2009, in line with Col. Sani Usman, a army spokesman. The army’s assault befell on Friday.
No less than three different prime commanders had been killed in “probably the most unprecedented and spectacular air raid,” the army stated in a information launch.
The navy has claimed to have killed Mr. Shekau up to now. Leaders of the militant group are regarded as holed up deep within the forest, and any experiences of deaths or accidents to commanders had been unattainable to independently affirm.
The information launch from the army on Tuesday prompted confusion by stating that Mr. Shekau was “fatally wounded on his shoulders.” Colonel Usman later clarified, saying he had been wounded.
The Nigerian army has been stepping up its offensive in opposition to Boko Haram even because the group seems to be fracturing. Mr. Shekau has in current weeks to air a theological spat with Abu Musab al-Barnawi, who had beforehand been described as a spokesman for Boko Haram, over whether or not the group ought to chorus from focusing on fellow Muslims with suicide bombings and different acts of violence. A latest problem of an Islamic State journal ran an interview with Mr. Barnawi, during which it known as him its “governor” for West Africa and made no point out of Mr. Shekau.
Mr. Barnawi is outwardly main an Islamic State-endorsed faction of Boko Haram. Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State final 12 months.
Tuesday’s announcement follows a declare this month from Boko Haram, which launched a video purporting to indicate the our bodies of a number of ladies who had been kidnapped two years in the past from a faculty in Chibok. A fighter who seems within the video says the women had been killed in Nigerian airstrikes on the forest.
The Chibok episode is probably the most excessive-profile hostage taking so far of the group that often kidnaps and kills women and boys. Greater than 250 ladies had been taken from Chibok, prompting a social media marketing campaign #BringBackOurGirls. Thus far, just one has been rescued.
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