The leader of the Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, has been injured and one of his deputies has been killed when Nigerian Air Force jets bombed a remote area in northeastern Nigeria.
Civilian and security sources said on Wednesday that the jets bombarded militants who had gathered in Balla village, some 40 kilometers from Damboa, on the edge of Sambisa Forest, last Friday.
Babakura Kolo, a member of the civilian militia in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, confirmed that Shekau was injured and a number of commanders were killed in the air raid.
“Among them is his deputy called Malam Abba. They suffered heavy casualties because the bombings targeted a large gathering of his followers attending Friday prayers,” media outlets quoted Kolo as saying.
One unnamed source with contacts within Boko Haram said the militant leader was being treated near the Nigerian border with Cameroon.
“Shekau was wounded in the bombings and is believed to be receiving treatment near the Nigerian border with Cameroon around Kolofata.”
“His deputy, Abba Mustapha, alias Malam Abba, was killed in the attack along with another key lieutenant, Abubakar Gashua, alias Abu Aisha,” the source added.
There was no immediate comment from the Nigerian military, which has previously claimed to have killed Shekau on at least three occasions.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Nigerian Air Force said it had bombed “a gathering of Boko Haram terrorists” last Friday “in a village 3.42 km northeast of Mangosum.”
“Battle damage assessment conducted after the strike showed that several leaders of the Boko Haram terrorist organization and their followers were killed during the attacks,” the statement read.
Ibrahim Bawa, a local fisherman in Konduga area, said Boko Haram terrorists went on a rampage following the airstrike.
“They came by the river hurling insults at us, accusing us of providing information about their locations and movements to the military.”
Another local resident said the militants rounded up six fishermen and slit their throats. Others escaped by swimming across the river, he added.
Boko Haram has recently pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terror group operating mainly in the Middle East.
More than 20,000 people have been killed and 2.6 million displaced as a result of eight years of militancy by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and neighboring countries.
By Africafrique and agencies