Nigeria's military claimed on Wednesday that its forces killed over 300 Boko Haram militants during an operation to retake the town of Monguno in northeastern Borno state. The operation, which began earlier this week, was reportedly conducted in 11 towns and villages.
"Over 300 terrorists were killed while a few were also captured," defense spokesperson Chris Olukolade, said in a statement, adding that "several weapons and equipment were also captured and some destroyed,” according to a report by Agence France-Presse. A few Nigerian military personnel were injured in the operation.
However, there was no independent confirmation of the army's claims, which follow similar reports about Boko Haram casualties from Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The West African nations are part of a regional coalition carrying out a military offensive against one of the world's most violent Islamist extremist groups.
Nigeria's military had claimed earlier this week that it had regained control of Monguno, after militants captured the town on Jan. 25. The town lies about 80 miles north of Maiduguri, which has come under fierce assault from the Sunni militant group in recent months.
Meanwhile, in a video, reportedly released Tuesday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau vowed to disrupt Nigeria's general election.
"This election will not be held even if we are dead. Even if we are not alive Allah will never allow you to do it," Shekau reportedly said, referring to the Nigerian election scheduled for March 28.