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Nigerian extremist leader surfaced in 2010

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In this image made from video received by The Associated Press on Monday, May 5, 2014, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Nigeria’s Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, speaks in a video in which his group claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction of nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria. Shekau threatened to sell the nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast three weeks ago, in a new videotape received Monday. It was unclear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors — who paid a nominal bride price of $12 — and that others have been carried into neighboring Cameroon and Chad. Those reports could not be verified. (AP Photo)

In this image made from video received by The Associated Press on Monday, May 5, 2014, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Nigeria’s Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, speaks in a video in which his group claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction of nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria. Shekau threatened to sell the nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast three weeks ago, in a new videotape received Monday. It was unclear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors — who paid a nominal bride price of $12 — and that others have been carried into neighboring Cameroon and Chad. Those reports could not be verified. (AP Photo)

In this image made from video received by The Associated Press on Monday, May 5, 2014, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Nigeria’s Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, speaks in a video in which his group claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction of nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria. Shekau threatened to sell the nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast three weeks ago, in a new videotape received Monday. It was unclear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors — who paid a nominal bride price of $12 — and that others have been carried into neighboring Cameroon and Chad. Those reports could not be verified. (AP Photo)

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The leader of the Nigerian Islamic extremist group tugged on his winter hat and said with a sneer: “I will sell women.”

The man is Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Nigeria’s most feared terror group, Boko Haram. It is Shekau who threatened in a grainy video this week to sell nearly 300 teenage school girls abducted from a school in remote northeast Nigeria last month.

Even before the kidnapping, the U.S. government was offering up to a $7 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Shekau, whom the U.S. has labeled a specially designated global terrorist.

In lectures heard in scratchy recordings, Shekau says that holy war is the only way to bring change for Muslims in Nigeria as he urges his followers to carry out assassinations and bombings in the oil-rich nation of more than 160 million. The country has a predominantly Christian south and a Muslim north.

“He’s isolated, he’s increasingly extremist and he’s delusional enough to think he could bring down the Nigerian state,” said J. Peter Pham, the director of the Africa Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, who wrote a 2012 report called “Boko Haram’s Evolving Threat.”

Pham says the group has grown increasingly violent.

In a 2010 jihadi video, Shekau wore a headdress and was framed by an AK-47 assault rilfe and a stack of religious books. He proclaimed himself the head of Boko Haram and said: “Do not think jihad is over. Rather, jihad has just begun.”

Associated Press

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