On the night of April 14, 2014, in the town of Chibok in northeast Nigeria, 276 girls between the ages of 15 and 24 were abducted from their school dormitory. It led to the biggest publicity coup to date by Boko Haram, the jihadist group led by Abubakar Shekau. Activists took to the streets of major Nigerian cities to protest, camping out in front of government buildings. A media frenzy ensued. The shocking incident sparked a global campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls,” which saw the involvement of celebrities from Malala to Michelle Obama. Boko Haram was discussed on high-profile talk shows across the world. Images of the group’s leader flashed regularly across TV screens. His every comment was translated from Arabic into English, French, Mandarin. His every move was analyzed by experts. Thus, Abubakar Shekau the superstar was born.

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