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Nigeria says Boko Haram leader fatally injured

August 23, 2016

Abubakar Shekau has been fatally wounded in an airstrike, the Nigerian military says. This isn't the first time the country has declared Shekau dead.

Nigerien Boko Harams Führer Abubakar Shekau
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo

The military released the statement on Tuesday, although it didn't specify how it got the information.

Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman, an army spokesman, said the "most unprecedented and spectacular air raid" fatally injured Shekau while he was praying on Friday in a village in northeastern Nigeria.

The government has repeatedly declared Shekau dead, only to later retract the reports. About a week ago, a video surfaced online in which the Boko Haram leader himself dismissed claims he'd been killed.

Ongoing conflict

Shekau took the reins of the Nigeria-based extremist group after its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed in a military attack in 2009.

Boko Haram has been fighting regional governments for years as it aims to create its own Islamic state in Africa. The conflict has led to the deaths of more than 20,000 people. In addition, it has driven some 2.6 million inhabitants out of their homes.

Following attacks in neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad, regional militaries stepped up the fight against Boko Haram. Recently, however, the group has also increasingly taken to attacking civilians.

Chibok girls shown in Boko Haram video

blc/jil (AP, AFP)