(CNN) – He’s one of the most wanted men in the world. The leader of Nigeria’s growing terrorist threat: Boko Haram. But who is Abubakar Shekau?
“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.”
Smiling and laughing, he admits to the mass kidnapping of nearly 300 girls in Nigeria.
While he’s posted a number of videos online, espousing his extremist Islamic ideology, saying he wants to end all western education, little is known about Shekau. His exact age is not clear. He’s said to be in his mid-thirties, or forties.
Experts say Shekau considers himself an Islamic holy man, but he’s also a ruthless killer. His group blamed for attacks that have killed thousands of innocent civilians.
Shekau was once deputy to Boko Haram founder, Muhammad Yusuf, until Nigerian security forces killed him in 2009. Shekau was also thought to be dead, but he resurfaced a year later, announcing in a video he was the new leader of the group.
He was reportedly wounded in 2012, and there were reports again last year that he had been killed.
So far, his attacks have been largely confined to Nigeria, but Shekau has also declared his allegiance to al-Qaeda.
“We have killed countless soldiers and we are going to kill more. Our strength and firepower is bigger than that of Nigeria. Nigeria is no longer a big deal to us, as far as we are concerned. We will now comfortably confront the United States of America.”
The U.S. State Department has declared Shekau a “global terrorist”, and put a $7 million bounty on his head. Nigerian authorities have tried for years to capture or kill him. But so far, Abubakar Shekau has managed to evade all attempts to stop his campaign of terror.