Nigeria’s top-ranking army commander Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru was killed on Friday when his plane crashed in the country’s north, an air force spokesman said.

Chief of Army Staff Attahiru was just appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in January in a shakeup of the top military command to better fight surging violence and a more than decade-long jihadist insurgency.

Attahiru was killed when the aircraft crashed in northern Kaduna state, air force spokesman Edward Gabkwet confirmed to AFP, without giving any details about the incident.

The crash comes three months after a small Nigerian air force passenger plane crashed just outside Abuja airport following alleged engine failure, killing all seven people on board.

Attahiru died as the news was emerging that Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadist leader Abubakar Shekau had been seriously wounded after clashes with fighters from a rival Islamic State-allied faction.

Nigeria’s military has been battling an Islamist insurgency in the northeast since 2009, a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 and displaced around two million more.


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