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Posted on on August 27th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Martin PlautAfrica analyst, BBC News reports on August 26, 2011.

Abuja attack: Car bomb hits Nigeria UN building.

In Friday morning’s attack, a car crashed through two security barriers and rammed into the building’s reception before exploding, witnesses said.

Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed by the number of injured and have appealed for blood donations.

Boko Haram, which is fighting for the establishment of Sharia law in Nigeria, also said it carried out a car bombing at police headquarters in June.

A UN official in Nigeria, who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity, said the UN had stepped up security at all its buildings in Nigeria in the past month after receiving information that the UN could be targeted by Boko Haram.

The attack on the UN headquarters indicates a growing sophistication by Boko Haram.

The vehicle broke through two security barriers, probably indicating that it was reinforced to withstand the impact. Then its driver detonated the bomb after crashing it into the UN reception area.

Earlier this month, the commander of the US Africa Command, General Carter Ham, said he had several sources of information showing that Boko Haram had contacts with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates in north-west Africa. He said it also had ties with al-Shabab in Somalia.

There have been other, independent, reports of Nigerians fighting alongside al-Shabab.

Together these reports indicate where Boko Haram is getting the expertise needed to carry out its current wave of attacks. What began as a radical group in northern Nigeria is now part of a much wider Islamist movement.

President Goodluck Jonathan reaffirmed his government’s “total commitment” to combating terrorism, and said his administration would “spare no effort to bring the perpetrators to justice”.
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