This file photo taken on March 25, 2016 shows army soldiers on the back of a vehicle in Damboa, Borno State in northeast Nigeria. ©AFP
Nigeria says its warplanes have launched an airstrike against positions of Boko Haram militants in the northeast, killing several senior terrorists and fatally injuring the Daesh-affiliated group’s disputed leader.
Nigeria’s air force said the airstrike hit a Boko Haram stronghold in Taye Village inside the Sambisa forest in Borno State on Friday.
“Their leader, so-called Abubakar Shekau, is believed to be fatally wounded on his shoulders,” army spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman said in a statement on Tuesday.
The army had reported the killing of Shekau before, but a man appeared later in videos purporting to be him.
There has been no immediate comment so far from Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to the Daesh terror group.
Shekau took over the militant group in 2009, the year it launched its militancy in Nigeria.
This screen grab taken on August 8, 2016 from a Boko Haram video shows the terror group’s disputed leader Abubakar Shekau. ©AFP 
Daesh announced early this month that Abu Musab al-Barnawi was Boko Haram’s new leader, but Shekau said in a video released on August 8 that he was still in charge of the Nigeria-based Takfiri group.
Borno State has taken the brunt of the Boko Haram militancy, which has so far cost the lives of more than 20,000 people countrywide.
Boko Haram started its campaign of militancy with the aim of toppling the central government in Nigeria.
Troops from Chad, Cameroon and Niger have joined the battle against the terrorists, helping Nigerian forces recapture a range of territories and drive the militants into remote areas in the Lake Chad region.