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Boko Haram Claims Lagos, Abuja Attacks

A screengrab of a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram and obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.

The leader of Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a recent bombing in Lagos, which, if confirmed, would be the militant group's first attack in the Nigerian commercial capital.

In a video released Monday, Abubakar Shekau said he sent the bomber who set off two explosions at a Lagos fuel depot on June 25, killing at least two people.

"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 told Reuters.

One was most likely the work of a female suicide bomber, they said.

The government said the explosions were caused by a gas canister, but the security sources told Reuters that was a cover-up meant to prevent panic in the city of 21 million people.

Shekau laughed at that idea of the explosion being caused by a gas canister, saying if you hide the truth from people, you cannot hide it from Allah.

Abuja bombing

The Boko Haram leader also claimed responsibility for a recent bombing in Abuja that killed 24 people.

The undated video shows Shekau, speaking in Hausa, flanked by 12 masked gunmen.

There was no immediate comment from Nigerian police or the government.

A confirmed Boko Haram attack in Lagos would be a cause for concern. The city, Nigeria's largest with about 20 million people, 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.

Most of Boko Haram's attacks have taken place around its original base in the northeast. The group is blamed for thousands of deaths in the past five years.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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