Nigerian air force kills senior Boko Haram militants

Aug 23, 2016, 5:08 AM EDT
Nigerian troops
(Source: US Army Africa/flickr)

Nigerian air force carried out a series of air strikes in the Sambisa forest in Borno state, killing at least three senior commanders of Boko Haram on Friday. An army spokesman claimed that Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau, who has a bounty on his head, was fatally wounded in the air raids. Nigerian forces, backed by regional troops, have been able to drive out jihadist fighters from huge swathes of territory in recent months.

The operation comes a week ahead of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Nigeria where he is expected to discuss an action plan to combat the growing threat of Boko Haram, writes Sky News. The jihadist group, which seeks to enforce a strict Islamic law in the country, has killed some 20,000 people in addition to displacing about 2.6 millions in the past seven years.

Boko Haram, which kidnapped 270 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014, pledged allegiance to Islamic State last year, reports Al Jazeera. A few days back, the group released a video purportedly showing some of the kidnapped girls.

According to an estimate by U.N.I.C.E.F., Boko Haram militants have kidnapped nearly 7,000 Nigerian women and girls, who are used as sex slaves or as suicide bombers, notes Mail Online