The Nigerian military says its “most unprecedented and spectacular air raid” has “fatally wounded” Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader, in his shoulders.
Sani Kukasheka Usman, a colonel and acting director of army public relations, made the claim in a statement he released very early on Tuesday morning.
He said the operation held on August 19, 2016 as the terrorists were performing Friday rituals at Taye village, Gombale general area, within Sambisa forest, Borno state.
“In what one could describe as the most unprecedented and spectacular air raid, we have just confirmed that as a result of the interdiction efforts of the Nigerian Air Force, some key leaders of the Boko Haram terrorists have been killed while others were fatally wounded,” Usman said.
“The air interdiction took place last week Friday 19th August 2016, while the terrorists were performing Friday rituals at Taye village, Gombale general area within Sambisa forest, Borno State.
“Those Boko Haram terrorists commanders confirmed dead include Abubakar Mubi, Malam Nuhu and Malam Hamman, amongst others, while their leader, the so-called ‘Abubakar Shekau’, is believed to be fatally wounded on his shoulders. Several other terrorists were also wounded.”
This is not the first time the army is claiming to have killed Abubakar Shekau.
The army first said in 2013 that it had killed the leader of the sect. Then, in September 2014, it again said “Sehkau” had been killed — though it later clarified that the man killed in 2014 was a Shekau impostor who went by the names Isa Damsaka, Bashir Konduga and Bashir Mohammed.
However, the following month, Shekau released a video dismissing reports of his death, saying: “Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath. I am running our… Islamic caliphate and administering sharia punishments…
“Nothing will kill me until my days are over… I’m still alive. Some people asked you if Shekau has two souls. No, I have one soul, by Allah.”
Between March 2015 and 2016, Shekau was noticeably absent in videos released by Boko Haram, only to release a video in March 2016, go quiet again and release another in August, where he threatened the mother of all attacks against Abuja, the federal capital territory