Revealed: The 12 Facts You Didn’t Know About Abubakar Shekau
Quiet and deadly, Abubakar Mohammad Shekau went unnoticed in July 2010 when he announced he was taking over the leadership of Boko Haram after the death of the founder, Muhammed Yusuf, in the hands of the police. If only the Nigerian government knew what was in the offing! Here are some interesting facts about the man spreading sorrow, tears and blood around the country
1. Shekau was probably born in the Republic of Niger, but there are no accurate data on his birth. His parents are believed to have come from Shekau village, Yobe State, where other sources said he was actually born.
2. The general assumption is that he was born in 1969, which made him a year older than Muhammed Yusuf, the founder of Jam??at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da?wa wal-Jih?d (“The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad”) ? otherwise known as Boko Haram.
3. Shekau was reportedly introduced to Yusuf in Maiduguri, Borno State, by Mamman Nur, who was declared wanted as the mastermind of the August 2011 attack on UN House in Abuja. There are no records of what year Shekau and Yusuf met.
4. Shekau was described as the “quietest” of the trio, giving no hint of his extreme radicalism.
5. After Yusuf’s death, Shekau reportedly married one of his four widows and adopted their children.
6. He is known by a nick-name, Darul Tawheed, because of his theological specialisation: the Islamic doctrine on the oneness of Allah.
7. He has been presumed dead twice ? first in the 2009 Maiduguri uprising which led to Yusuf’s death; then last year when he was reportedly killed in a Nigerian military operation.
8. In July 2010, a year after he was first presumed dead, he released a video announcing that he was the new leader of Boko Haram and was about to launch a jihad against the Nigerian state.
9. In the video, he claimed he was shot on his thigh but survived.
10. He has been officially designated a terrorist by the Nigerian and US governments. There are two bounties on his head: the United States Department of State offered $7 million and the Nigeria government N50 million for any information that could lead to his arrest.
11. He is very fluent in Kanuri, his primary language, as well as Hausa and Arabic. He speaks English but rarely does so in his videos.
12. A famous Shekau quote: “I enjoy killing anyone that Allah commands me to kill – the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams.” He was speaking after Boko Haram had killed more than 180 persons in Kano in January 2012.
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