Jumat, 26 Agustus 2011

Bomb blast Rocks U.N Building in Nigeria's Capital Abuja

A car laden with explosives detonated outside the United Nations' main office in Abuja Friday, killing several people and destroying a wing of the building. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

Sad news as a large number of people have been feared dead after a large explosion tore through the United Nations' building in Abuja, leveling an entire wing of the four-storey structure. A Nigerian Red Cross spokesman said that so far 18 bodies had been recovered from the rubble but warned that the death toll could be higher.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion and saw smoke billowing from the building. Some said a sedan, believed to be carrying explosives, made its way through one of the UN compound's gates and drove close to the building shortly before the explosion.

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

(Above) An injured man is carried down on a ladder by emergency workers

The building, located in the same neighbourhood as the US embassy and other diplomatic missions, houses about 400 employees of the UN in Nigeria, including the majority of its offices.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the attack as "an assault on those who devote their lives to helping others. We condemn this terrible act utterly." Ban added that he had sent several high-ranking UN officials to Abuja to investigate the attack.

Terrorist threats

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. But oil-rich Nigeria has faced a number of terrorist threats in recent years.

A car bombing at federal police headquarters in June was blamed on a radical Muslim sect, Boko Haram, calling for the establishment of a strict version of Sharia law in the country. The group has been blamed for several assassinations and bombings.

Earlier this month, the commander for US military operations in Africa, General Carter Ham, said Boko Haram may be trying to join forces with two al-Qaeda-linked groups in other African countries to mount joint attacks in Nigeria.

The other outfits include al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb which operates in northwest Africa and the al-Shabab militia in Somalia.

"I think it would be the most dangerous thing to happen not only to the Africans, but to us as well," Ham told AP earlier this month during a visit to Nigera.

Last year, a militant group from the country's oil-producing Niger Delta detonated car bombs in the capital during Nigeria's 50th independence anniversary celebration, killing at least 12 people.

Source: www.dw-world.de

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