Nigerian extremist leader surfaced in 2010

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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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," he sneered.

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 schoolgirls his fighters abducted in northeast Nigeria.

Even before the mass kidnapping, the U.S. government offered 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 holy war is the only way to bring change for Muslims in Nigeria as he urges his followers to carry out assassinations and bombings.

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A state government official in Nigeria says Islamic militants have killed hundreds of people in an attack on a border town in the country's remote northeast.

The official says shops and homes were set on fire and leveled in the attack Monday night on Nigeria's border with Cameroon.

One newspaper says militants sprayed gunfire into crowds of people at a busy market, in an attack that continued for hours. It says insurgents set homes on fire and gunned down residents who tried to escape the flames.

Officials are blaming the Boko Haram (BOH'-koh hah-RAHM') terrorist network that has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of 276 teenage girls. It's threatening to sell them into slavery.

The insurgents say Western influences are corrupting and they want to impose an Islamic state in Nigeria, a country of 170 million of whom half are Christian.

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