Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram appears to be intensifying attacks on southern Nigeria. It claimed responsibility yesterday for an attack in Lagos, the country’s main port and the largest city in Africa. Reuters reports:
Boko Haram leader Abubabar Shekau claimed responsibility for two blasts minutes apart targeting a fuel depot on June 25 in the country’s main port in Apapa, in the commercial hub of Lagos, saying he had sent a bomber in do it.[…]
The target of the Lagos bombs was a fuel depot which, had it gone up, would have caused a massive chain explosion and disrupted Nigeria’s mostly imported fuel supply. At least two people were killed. Police said it was an accident involving a gas canister, but the security sources say that was a cover-up – as did Shekau in his latest video.
If confirmed to be Boko Haram the ramifications are huge, both because Lagos is an international business hub and because it is a usually peaceful if at times uneasy melting pot of ethnicities from the mostly Christian south and Muslim north. Yorubas are split evenly between Muslims and Christians, but in past unrest with northerners, ethnic loyalties trumped religion.
Since 2012, Boko Haram has mainly operated in Nigeria’s majority-Muslim north. This bombing, however, is part of a recent string of attempts on targets outside that area. If Boko Haram starts routinely to attack the Christian, oil-rich south, it would mark a major escalation of Nigeria’s troubles.As Africa’s God Wars escalate, veteran reporter Colin Freeman offers a lengthy examination of Boko Haram in today’s Telegraph. He analyzes the militant group’s growth and why tactics from commando raids to social media campaigns have thus far proved fruitless against it. Anyone interested in the ongoing conflict ought to read the whole thing.