Bomb hits United Nations' building in Abuja


ABUJA, Nigeria - A car bomb tore through the United Nations' main office in Nigeria's capital Friday, flattening one wing of the building and leaving an unknown number of people dead.

A U.N. official in Geneva confirmed to CBS News that it was a bomb attack, and a Nigerian security official told Reuters news agency it was the result of a car bomb.

"I saw scattered bodies," said Michael Ofilaje, a UNICEF worker at the building. "Many people are dead."
He said it felt like "the blast came from the basement and shook the building."

A medical worker at the scene told Reuters at least 10 people were killed and local media said as many as 40 more were injured, but the death toll was not immediately confirmed by officials and many more victims could still be buried by rubble.

The building, located in the same neighborhood as the U.S. embassy and other diplomatic posts in Abuja, had a huge hole punched in it.

The building houses about 400 employees of the U.N. in Nigeria, including the majority of its offices.

U.S. Embassy spokesperson Debbie MacLean tells CBS News that, as far as she is aware, no U.S. citizens were injured in the blast, but the embassy was still collecting details and the facts from the incident were still evolving rapidly.

MacLean said there was no damage to the U.S. Embassy.

Nigeria, a nation of 150 million, is split between a largely Christian south and Muslim north. In recent months, the country has faced an increasing threat from a radical Muslim sect called Boko Haram, which wants to implement a strict version of Shariah law in the nation.
The group has carried out assassinations and bombings, including the June car bombing of the national headquarters of Nigeria's federal police that killed at least two people.

Earlier this month, the commander for U.S. military operations in Africa said Boko Haram may be trying to link with two al Qaeda-linked groups in other African countries to mount joint attacks in Nigeria.

Gen. Carter Ham told AP on Aug. 17 during a visit to Nigeria that "multiple sources" indicate Boko Haram made contacts with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which operates in northwest Africa, and with al-Shabab in Somalia.
"I think it would be the most dangerous thing to happen not only to the Africans, but to us as well," Carter said.

"This is very likely the work of Boko Haram and, or, AQIM and is a serious escalation in the security situation in Nigeria," the unnamed security official told Reuters.

Photo Credit: Sahara Reporters
Source: CBS News

0 comment(s):

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share