Boko Haram crisis: Nigeria air strike ‘kills commanders’

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Source: BBC

Nigeria’s army says it has killed several commanders of the Islamist group Boko Haram in an air strike and seriously wounded its disputed leader.

An army spokesman told the BBC’s Hausa service that Abubakar Shekau’s shoulder was badly injured in the strike on Friday in north-eastern Borno state.

There has been no independent confirmation of the strike.

Claims by the army that it has killed Shekau have turned out to be false on previous occasions.

The reports should therefore be treated with caution, says the BBC’s Africa Security correspondent Tomi Oladipo.

Boko Haram is fighting to overthrow Nigeria’s government and establish an Islamic State in the north.

An army spokesman said warplanes struck as the militants met for Friday prayers last week at a village deep within the Sambisa forest in Borno State.

The army’s announcement coincided with the arrival of US Secretary of State John Kerry in Nigeria on a two-day visit.

Speaking in the northern city of Sokoto, Mr Kerry urged Nigeria to address the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Building public trust in government also requires cooperation from the military and law enforcement. Extremism can’t be defeated through repression or fear,” Reuters news agency quotes him as saying.

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