Abuja: Nigeria`s deadly Islamic sect Boko Haram on Monday announced the "martyrdom" of its top leader accused of masterminding a Christmas day church suicide attack that killed 44 people, even as the group launched a daring jailbreak and freed 40 inmates.
During prison attack, Boko Haram members threw explosives at the prison gates and shot at prison guards before making their way into the jail in Yobe State.
State police Commissioner Patrick Egbuniwe confirmed that 40 inmates were freed during the jail break.
"The sect members entered the prison through the emir`s palace and freed 40 persons. They were confronted by the military but they carried away their members shot by the military, " he said.
Earlier the radical sect confirmed the death of Habibu Bama, who was accused of masterminding a Christmas day church suicide attack, by the country`s security forces.
"We are happy for Habibu Bama`s martyrdom," Boko Haram said of its member who was a former soldier in a brief statement.
Nigeria`s secret police, State Security Service (SSS), engaged the sect in a gun battle within the city last week after which it was announced that they had captured Bama.
Bama was declared wanted after the Christmas day bombing at St Theresa`s Catholic Church in Madalla near the country`s capital, Abuja, killed 44 people.
He was also accused of being involved last June`s attack of police headquarters and August bombing of United Nations headquarters in Abuja.
Boko Haram says its plan is to install Islamic rule in the country of 150 million people divided equally among Christians and Muslims.