MAIDUGURI - Nigeria's military said on Friday that it may have killed more than 50 Islamist insurgents in an airstrike on one of their main bases in the northeast of the country.
The latest strikes on Thursday targeted Boko Haram sect hideouts in the Gwoza hills, near the border with Cameroon.
In May, the military stepped up an offensive against the Islamist group, which is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country split roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims. President Jonathan declared a state of emergency and ordered in extra troops.
"We had intelligence that Boko Haram were still hiding somewhere around the Bita bush. Some villagers alerted us," Colonel Muhammad Dole, spokesman for Nigerian forces in the northeast, told Reuters.
"We may even have killed more than that 51 because the pilot didn't capture the images at that time. Our troops are on ground in the area now," he added, declining to give details of the aircraft used.
The military often reports large death tolls among Islamists in fighting but rarely acknowledges significant casualties on its side. It is usually impossible to verify the casualty figures.