A video has surfaced in which the chief leader of Boko Haram claims responsibility for Nigeria attacks. Abubakar Shekau announced he had ordered a bomber to carry out an attack at a popular shopping center in Abuja which had killed 21 people and injured about 50. Shekau also claimed he had ordered an attack on the main port of Apapa in Lagos which occurred that same day.
Newsweek reported the Islamic militant group Boko Haram took ownership of the attacks in Nigeria and stated officials had lied about one of the attacks. Shekau and a group of men could be seen in a video standing in front of two heavy-duty armored vehicles and two pickup trucks announcing their role in bombing attacks.
The magazine further reported the attack in Lagos could be the first recorded attack in the city carried out by extremists who reportedly aimed to blow up the fuel depot. Officials said if plans had been carried out accordingly, the explosion would have disrupted Nigeria’s import of fuel. Authorities were also reported as saying the attack had been covered up to avoid panic in a city of about 21 million people.
Although Shekau had claimed responsibility for the attack in Lagos, security sources believe a separate group could be responsible for the bombing. Newsweek stated Shekau has been known to claim attacks of other rebel groups.
Although Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is claiming responsibility for past Nigeria attacks, he is also seen in the video showing support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He is seen calling the Islamic militant group “brethren” and saying “May Allah protect you.” Russia Today (RT) reported Boko Haram is looking to enforce the same type of Islamic State in Nigeria with strict Sharia Law that contains a “multi-national and multi-confessional population of over 160 million.”
RT also points out Shekau is seen in the video mocking the social media campaign “Bring Back Our Girls” which had addressed the kidnapping of 200 girls from the Chibok secondary school back in April. RT stated Shekau was mocking the campaign by including a photoshop message that stated, “Bring Back our Humvee” which may be referring to the takeover of U.S. designed Humvees and tanks that occurred in Mosul back in June.
In fact, news of demands for the release of the Chibok girls was reported by Ameh Comrade Godwin of the Daily Post in Nigeria. A Boko Haram member had stated earlier in the week that the group will only release the school girls when Nigeria’s federal government releases Boko Haram members. This demand came from within the rebel group’s camp and was told to a reporter of the BBC World Radio Service from an “anonymous” teacher of the group.
The teacher had told BBC Radio that the militant group does not “carry out indiscriminate attacks” and those who fight the group or “leak information” will be targeted. However, the group is willing to negotiate the release of the Chibok girls with the Nigerian government for members of Boko Haram.
The teacher stated Shekau promised to release the girls either the same day, or the next depending on how soon the Nigerian federal government released their members. The teacher reported the girls were in a state of “amnesty” and were being treated respectfully whether they chose to stay with the religion of Islam, or not. So long as the girls stayed respectful, the rebel group was not allowed to treat them differently or kill them since it is against their religion, the teacher had told BBC Radio.
The Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau has claimed responsibility for the Nigeria attacks as well as the kidnapping of the Chibok girls in a recent video, but his mission appears to be the same as ISIS, which is turning Nigerian territories into an Islamic State of supporters.
By Liz Pimentel