Shekau Abubakar is an ethnic Kanuri from Nigeria. Under his leadership, Boko Haram allegedly committed crimes against humanity such as murder and persecution. It is believed that Boko Haram carried out a series of attacks against the civilian population which resulted in the murder of at least 1,200 civilians since July 2009.
The attacks of Boko Haram under the leadership of Shekau Abubakar have generally targeted Christians in northern and central Nigeria since 2009, but also officials of international organizations.
On 22 March 2013, armed militants from Boko Haram attacked the eastern Nigerian town of Ganye, where at least 25 civilians were killed. Victims, mainly women and children were targeted because of their Christian belief. One of the victims, the Spanish nun Maria Jesus Mayor managed to escape and was rescued by Nigerian security services. Moreover, more than 200 girls from the Chibok catholic college in North Nigeria were sequestrated and allegedly murdered on 14 April 2014.