The leader of militant Islamist sect Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, may have died of gunshot wounds weeks after a clash with soldiers, the Nigerian military said on Monday.
Shekau, blamed for a campaign of deadly attacks on security targets and churches across Africa's biggest oil producer, was hit during a gun battle near one of his camps in the northeast on June 30, the army said in a statement.
He was then taken to a community over the border in Cameroon where he was believed to have died between July 25 and August 3, added the report released from the military base in the northeast city of Maiduguri.
Past reports of Shekau's death have proved false and there was no independent confirmation of the army account.
Intelligence reports "revealed that Abubakur Shekau, the most dreaded and wanted Boko Haram terrorist leader, may have died," the statement read.
Boko Haram wants to impose Islamic law in Nigeria's north, and, alongside other spin-off Islamist groups, has become the biggest threat to stability in Nigeria.