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EXTRA: ‘Fatal’ injury to Shekau sparks grammar war among Nigerians

EXTRA: ‘Fatal’ injury to Shekau sparks grammar war among Nigerians
August 23
14:48 2016

The Nigerian army’s announcement that Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader, was “fatally wounded” in a “spectacular and unprecedented air raid” has sparked a grammar war among Nigerians.


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.

“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.

“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.”


The army’s use of the phrase “fatally wounded” left many wondering if Shekau died after the air raid.

The basic contention is whether a fatal injury definitely leads to death or whether it may or may not lead to death.


While the argument raged on, some others simply asked the army for pictures on the operation.

We know the army is responsible for what it says, as much as Nigerians are responsible for what they interpret. But we would like to hear from you.

What does fatally wounded mean to you?


  1. ablawal
    ablawal August 23, 15:30

    “Fatally wounded” means the person sustains life-threatening injuries that will eventually lead to death. It’s a common phrase in the military parlance.

    See a narration I got from a site:
    If in a combat, two soldiers are injured and taken to the hospital. One lost a leg, but is in no danger of dying. The other was brought into the hospital alive, but with massive head trauma that he will later die of. The former was “wounded” and the latter “fatally wounded.”

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  2. Sumsum
    Sumsum August 23, 16:30

    The problem is in the context. Assuming the air raid led to an injury which ultimately led to Shekau’s death, then it will be correct to say he was ‘fatally wounded’. This means the word ‘fatal’ can be used only after the death of the wounded person. For now, the Army has not disclosed that Shekau is dead (the statement actually suggests otherwise), so the use of the word ‘fatal’ is not correct.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Drexel
    Drexel August 23, 17:12

    The Nigerian Army anticipates Shekau’s resurrrection as usual, that is why they said he was “fatally” injured.

    Reply to this comment

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