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Abubakar Shekau

Abubakar Shekau
Born  Niger
Ethnicity Kanuri
Known for Emir of Boko Haram
Religion Salafi Islam
Abubakar Shekau
Preceded by Mohammed Yusuf
Military service
Allegiance Boko Haram
Battles/wars Nigerian Sharia conflict
2009 Nigerian sectarian violence

Abubakar Shekau, also known by the alias Darul Tawheed ("the abode of monotheism") (Arabic: دار التوحيد‎), is the Islamist leader of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram.[1][2] He served as deputy leader to the group's founder, Mohammed Yusuf, until Yusuf was killed in 2009. Nigerian authorities believed that Shekau was killed in 2009 during clashes between security forces and Boko Haram until July 2010 when he appeared in a video claiming leadership of the group.[2]


  • Profile 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Reports of Death 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Shekau is an ethnic Kanuri but also speaks Hausa, Arabic, and English.[3] Shekau claims to be an intellectual and theologian who studied Islam "under a traditional cleric."[4][5]

In videos Shekau posted online, he often boasted about his invincibility, mocked various armies and stated that he "cannot be stopped" and "cannot die except by the will of Allah". He also boasted about being in possession of armoured tanks and other combat vehicles. He frequently spoke about the Quran in his online videos.[6]

In June 2012 the United States Department of State designated Shekau as a terrorist and effectively froze any of his assets in the United States.[7]

Since June 2013,[8] the U.S. State Department has a standing reward of US$7 million for information leading to Shekau's capture through its Rewards for Justice program.[9] The Nigerian army has additionally offered a 50 million reward (approximately US$300,000) for Shekau.[10]

Shekau survived being shot in the leg during an attempt on his life by Nigerian security forces.[2] He took credit for the kidnapping of over 200 school girls in April 2014.[5] After his near death, he increased his violent attacks.[5] Shekau also announced that the kidnapped girls have been converted to Islam.[11] He had claimed to be waging a jihad against Christianity.[12] His online videos frequently depict anti-American rhetoric and he had made multiple threats to attack the U.S.[13]

Personal life

Shekau was born in the Republic of Niger, although it has also been claimed that he was born in Shekau village in Yobe State of Nigeria. It is unclear how old he is with speculation suggesting he is 34 or 35; some have said he is 43 years old.[4] He has married one of Muhammad Yusuf's four wives.[4]

His nickname is “Darul Tawheed”, which translates as a specialist in Tawheed, the Islamic concept of oneness of Allah.[4]

Reports of Death

Shekau was reported to have been killed by the Nigerian army during the Battle of Kodunga that lasted between September 12 and 14th 2014.[14] The Nigerian army also dismissed claims by the Cameroonian military that their forces killed Shekau.[15][16][17] However in early October 2014, a video was obtained by AFP news agency that showed Shekau alive, in which he mocked the Nigerian military's allegations that he had been killed.[18][19]

See also


  1. ^ Brock, Joe (2012-01-12). "Nigeria sect leader defends killings in video". Reuters Africa (Thomson Reuters). Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  2. ^ a b c Jacinto, Leela (2012-01-13). "The Boko Haram terror chief who came back from the dead". France 24. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  3. ^ BBC: "Nigeria's Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in profile" 9 May 2014
  4. ^ a b c d BBC News (22 June 2012). "Profile of Nigeria's Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau". BBC News. 
  5. ^ a b c Terrence McCoy (May 6, 2014). "The man behind the Nigerian girls’ kidnappings and his death-defying mystique". Washington Post. 
  6. ^ "Boko Haram leader, believed dead, appears in new video". UPI. Sep 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Boko Haram leaders are designated as terrorists by US". BBC News. June 22, 2012. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Rewards for Justice - First Reward Offers for Terrorists in West Africa". U.S. Department of State. June 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Rewards for Justice profile". Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  10. ^ "Nigeria army offers $1.8 mln reward for Boko Haram leaders". Reuters. November 24, 2012. 
  11. ^ Boko Haram and the Future of Nigeria, by Dr. Jacques Neheriah Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  12. ^ "Boko Haram Leader Pledges War Against Christians; Scoffs at Gays Saying Even Animals Know Better". 2014-05-16. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  13. ^ Windrem, Robert (2014-05-17). "Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau: the Man Who Would Be Africa's Bin Laden". NBC News. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  14. ^ "Nigerian Army confirms death of fake Abubakar Shekau". Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "L'armée camerounaise aurait tué le leader de Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau". African Manager. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "Boko Haram fighters 'surrender' as alleged chief killed".  
  17. ^ "Military kills Abubakar Shekau ‘again’".  
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Boko Haram video shows leader alive".  

External links

  • Boko Haram: Its Beginnings, Principles and Activities in Nigeria,  .
  • National Counterterrorism Center: Profile Abubakar Shekau
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