Yesterday, #AbubakarShekau, the leader of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, released a video claiming responsibility for the abduction of 300 teenage schoolgirls from Chibok, and he threatened to sell them on Allah’s command.
This declaration successfully positioned him as the centre of worldwide attention on Monday, but Shekau, for Nigerians, has garnered notoriety for longer than that. This is why it is quite interesting that little is known about his rise to the top in the Boko Haram hierarchy.
A BBC profile describes him thus: “The leader of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram is said to be a fearless loner, a complex, paradoxical man - part intellectual, part gangster.
Fondly called imam or leader by his followers, Abubakar Muhammad Shekau was born in Shekau village in Nigeria's north-eastern state of Yobe.
Some say he is 35 or 36, others that he may be 44 - the uncertainty adds to the myths surrounding Nigeria's most wanted man.
The US government has offered a reward of up to $7m (£4.6m) for information about his location.” (Click here to read the full profile).
He was reportedly the group’s deputy leader until the founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed in 2009.
In the selfsame 2009, reports went out that Shekau himself had also been killed, but his frequent video deliveries would suggest otherwise.
#CTVnews and #BBC describe him as a ‘fearsome loner with a photographic memory’ who once said he enjoys killing ‘anyone that God commands me to kill.’
The U.S. Department of State says Shekau has admitted to affiliations with al Qaeda and has threatened the US.
Click here to read the CTVnews profile