The Nigerian military has said that the leader of militant Islamist sect Boko Haram may have died of gunshot wounds weeks after a clash with soldiers.

Abubakar Shekau had been blamed for a campaign of deadly attacks on security targets and churches across Africa's biggest oil producer.

He was hit during a gun battle near one of his camps in the northeast on 30 June, 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 25 July and 3 August, the army added in the report released from a military base in Maiduguri.

Past reports of Mr Shekau's death have proved false and there was no independent confirmation of the army account.

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.

Intelligence reports "revealed that Abubakur Shekau, the most dreaded and wanted Boko Haram terrorist leader, may have died", the army said.