Sunday, July 13, 2014

"A Bomb Went Off in Lagos, I Ordered It"... Shekau Boasts

The head of Nigeria’s Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital Abuja and an attack hours later in Lagos which the authorities tried to cover up, in a video obtained by AFP Sunday the 13th of July 2014.
In the 16-minute video, Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau also voices support for the extremist Sunni Islamic State (IS) militants who have taken over large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
He mocks the social media and protest campaign Bring Back Our Girls, which emerged after the Islamists kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls on April 14 from the remote northeastern town of Chibok.
"A bomb went off in Lagos. I ordered (the bomber) who went and detonated it," Shekau said. The two blasts minutes apart last month in the main port of Apapa were almost certainly caused by bombs, three senior security sources and the manager of a major container company revealed. One was most likely the work of a female suicide bomber, they said.

Authorities said the blasts on Creek Road were an accident caused by a gas canister, but the security sources revealed that it was a cover-up meant to prevent panic in the city of 21 million people. At least two people were killed.
Shekau also claimed a bomb in a shopping mall in Abuja's upmarket Wuse II district that killed 24 people, the third in the capital since April and among a growing body of evidence that its attacks are spreading southwards.

"You said it was an ordinary fire, but it was me in that fire. Well, you can hide it from people but you can't hide it from Allah," Shekau says in the video, which shows him next to gunmen in front of two armored personnel carriers and two pickup trucks. A confirmed attack by Boko Haram would be a cause for concern. Lagos is both an international business hub and a usually peaceful but at times uneasy melting pot of ethnicities from the mostly Christian south and Muslim north that have fought street battles in the past.
The target of the Lagos bombs was a fuel depot. Had it gone up, it could have caused a massive chain explosion and disrupted Nigeria's mostly imported fuel supply.
Security sources say it may have been the work of a group or individual inspired by Boko Haram, and point out that its failure to hit its target makes it unlikely this was an expertly trained bomber. Shekau has been known to claim attacks suspected to be the work of another Islamist group or a criminal gang.
Shekau also said his loyalists carried out twin car bombings in May in the central city of Jos and a June attack at a public health college in the northern city of Kano.

Claims Abuja, Lagos attacks
“We were the ones who detonated the bomb in filthy Abuja,” he said, referring to a June 25 attack on a popular shopping centre in the heart of the capital that killed at least 22 people.
Later that day a huge explosion also rocked the Apapa port district of Lagos, which the authorities blamed on a cooking gas explosion, with no casualties. Investigation has revealed the blast was a deliberate attack involving high explosives.
Analysts have said the Lagos attack was likely carried out by a local militant cell with loose or perhaps no ties to Boko Haram’s core leadership in the northeast, the group’s stronghold.
The government has since conceded it was too soon to determine if the Lagos blast was a bombing, and says investigations are ongoing.

Prior to June 25, Lagos, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest city, had not been hit by Islamist militants.
An escalation of violence in the city, Nigeria’s commercial capital, could have devastating consequences for the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been fiercely criticised for his handling of the insurgency. 
Shekau, in boasting about the Lagos attack, incorrectly identifies the Governor of Lagos State, taunting Adams Oshiomole, who is in fact the Governor the southern Edo State. Babatunde Fashola is the Governor of Lagos state
The error is consistent for Shekau, who has regularly appeared to be out-of-touch and unhinged in his messages. He has previously threatened ex-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher months after her death and the deceased pope John Paul II.
Extremist ‘brethren’ 
Declared a global terrorists by the United States and sanctioned by the UN Security Council, Shekau is thought to have previously claimed credit for attacks that he did not directly order.
Near the beginning of the video Shekau calls several of the world’s most prominent Islamist extremists his “brethren”.
“May Allah protect you” he said, listing IS chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri, Taliban leader Mullah Omar and several others.
Speaking in English, Shekau recited the Bring Back Our Girls slogan used by activists to pressure for the release of schoolgirls.
“Bring Back Our Girls… bring back our army,” he says, in what may be reference to a previous offer that the hostages could be freed if Nigeria releases Boko Haram fighters held in custody.
Boko Haram’s uprising, aimed at creating a strict Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, is estimated to have killed more than 10,000 people since 2009, and Shekau vowed more bloodshed.
He said he will continue to be “a huge problem” for the West and people across Nigeria.
With agency reports from AFP
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