Abubakar Shekau is the leader of the Boko Haram militant Islamist group which has been behind the deadly insurgency in the North-eastern part of Nigeria for the last 5 years. According to report, since Abubakar Shekau took over Boko Haram leadership, he has become more radical and carried out more killings.
Abubakar Shekau was once said to have been killed by the Nigerian security forces in 2009, but only for him to reappear in a video recording posted on the internet less than a year later as the Boko haram new leader after the death of the Boko haram founder; Muhammad Yusuf who died in the police custody in July 2009 during which 100’s of others were killed.
Abubakar Shekau was said to have met the former Boko Haram leader, Muhammad Yusuf in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State which is the Boko Haram’s then-stronghold, through a mutual friend, Mamman Nur. Nigeria’s authorities say Nur masterminded the August 2011 bombing of the UN office complex in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
All three were theology students | Muhammad Yusuf, Mamman Nur. and Abubakar Shekau, was seen as the quietest and perhaps the most radical of them
Abubakar Shekau was said to have married one of the 4 wives of Muhammad Yusuf when he was killed and adopted their children. Boko Haram has a highly decentralized structure – the unifying force appears to be ideology, though many believe that they are now more interested in vengeance than in ideology.
Abubakar Shekau does not communicate directly with the group’s foot soldiers – he is said to wield his power through a few select cell leaders, but even then contact is minimal.
Abubakar Shekau issued a chilling message in one of those appearances – which provides a major insight into what his leadership of the group will bring.
“I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill – the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams,” he said in the video clip released just after Boko Haram had carried out one of its deadliest attacks, in January 2012, killing more than 180 people in Kano, northern Nigeria’s largest city.
Past Deadly Killings by Boko Haram
2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed; leader Mohammed Yusuf captured and killed
Dec 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80 people; blamed for New Year’s Eve attack on Abuja barracks
Jun-Aug 2011: Bomb attacks on Abuja police HQ and UN building
April 2012: Deadly Easter church attack in Kaduna; ThisDay newspaper offices bombed
May 2013: Heavily armed incursion into Bama town prompting a state of emergency to be declared
Sept 2013: Attacked agricultural school in Yobe, killing 50 male students
March 2014: Hundreds of militants attacked military headquarters in Maiduguri
April 2014: Blamed for killing at least 75 people in twin bomb blasts in Abuja
April 2014: Kidnapped more than 200 girls from a school Chibok in Borno state