Earlier today, Abubakar Shekau, leader of Islamic militant group Boko Haram, appeared in a video where he claimed Boko Haram was responsible for the attacks on Baga in Borno State which some have said led to the death of up to 2000 people. Shekau said in his recorded speech;
"We indeed killed them, as our Lord instructed us in His Book. We will not stop. This is not much. You will see. I'm ready."
But many have asked, who is Shekau? Who is this man who has kept the Nigerian Army looking like fools as they report his death, only for him to "seemingly" resurrect and mock them in new videos? A new report suggests that Shekau, while very well educated in Islamic and legal studies, may also be mentally ill. Some sources say he escaped from a psychatric hospital where he was put following a psychotic break when his wife died in childbirth.
The man orchestrating the deadly Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria is a boastful lunatic who revels in slaughter and chaos and is a 'master of disguise'.
Bloodthirsty Abubakar Shekau is one of the world’s most wanted men, with American authorities putting a $7million bounty on his head.
Shekau – said to be to fluent in four languages – also operates under a variety of different names which has only increased the mystery surrounding his true identity.
The elusive Islamist fanatic has led his brutal Boko Haram militants since 2009 into war in Africa, killing more than an estimated 16,225 people in that time.
Experts claim psychotic Shekau rarely communicates directly with members of the terror group and instead deals only with a handful of confidantes - much like former Al Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden.
Files on the US State Department of Justice claim he variously operates under identities that include Darul Tawheed, Abu Bakr Skikwa, Imam Abu Bakr Shiku, Abu Muhammad Abu Bakr Bin Muhammad Al Shakwi Al Muslimi Bishku and Abubakar Shakkau.
The four languages he speaks are listed as Arabic, Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri. Even his age remains unknown, with predictions between 38 and 49 believed to be most accurate.
Shekau is believed to have a wife and three children, although their whereabouts also remain unknown.
The Nigerian military has claimed several times to have killed the fanatic - only for him to appear in new videos proving he is still alive.After one recent claim, he appeared in video to taunt the military's claims and laughed:
'Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath.'
Boko Haram – which means ‘Western education is forbidden' in Arabic – have shocked the world with their merciless slaughter of innocent men, woman and children across the north of Nigeria.
Shekau claimed leadership of the terror group in 2010, and was seen last week in a video praising the jihadists who murdered 17 people in the Paris attacks.
He has been variously described as ‘fearless’, a ‘gangster’ and a ‘loner’, which security sources believe give him an air of invincibility which makes him extremely dangerous.
The Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium has described Shekau as a ‘religious intellectual, yet also a gangster and vigilante as well as a mad leader’.
“He was an easy-going fellow who would exchange banter with people in the neighbourhood. He was popular… as a local theology student,” said Grema Kawudima, from the Mafoni area of the city, in a September 2012 interview.
Another local, Butari Gwoni said Shekau married the daughter of a teacher, but his wife died in childbirth, triggering what some said was latent mental illness. He began “exhibiting signs of mental imbalance” after his wife’s death, said Gwoni.
Rumours also abound that Shekau escaped from the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri during the 1990s.
The fanatic regularly appears in videos to taunt the Nigerian military over their failings to prevent his group’s killings.
In one of Shekau's first videos, believed to have appeared online in 2012, the insurgent leader boasted of his bloodlust and said:
‘I enjoy killing...the way I enjoy slaughtering chickens and rams.’
It is believed the terrorist was born in Shekau village that borders Niger to poor farmer parents. They are then thought to have migrated south into northeast Nigeria.
A religious young man, he studied basic Islamic theology, before focusing on more hardline Sunni ideology and becoming a preacher.
After his religious studies, he is then understood to have attended Borno State College of Legal and Islamic Studies for higher studies on Islam.
He became increasingly radicalised and seized control of Boko Harem after founder Mohammed Yusuf was killed in a security crackdown on the terror group in 2009.
Since then, Shekau has pursued a relentless campaign of terror as the group has strengthened its deadly grip in Nigeria.