It was a terrifying scene in Nigeria on Friday as a car bomb attack tore apart the United Nations’ headquarters in the country’s capitol, Abuja. While there are still missing details on exactly what happened, the latest reports are that the death toll stands at 18.

The attack was carried out on the part of the building that houses the United Nations Children’s Fund, better known as UNICEF, by a bomber who rammed his car into the structure of the building. In all, there were 26 different UN humanitarian agencies working out of the headquarters as well.

According to Reuters:

The U.N. building was blackened from top to bottom and the remains of a car had fallen into the basement. Soldiers, firefighters and rescue workers swarmed over the area.

An Abuja-based security source said he suspected the attack was carried out by a Nigerian Islamist group, whose strikes have been growing in intensity and spreading further afield, or the North African arm of al Qaeda.

“This is very likely the work of Boko Haram and, or, AQIM (al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and is a serious escalation in the security situation in Nigeria,” the security source said. “This is the worst thing that could have happened.”


If this is indeed, Boko Haram, it would not be the first time they have launched an attack of this magnitude. Last October, the group was suspected to be behind detonating two car bombs during celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from Britain. The attacks killed 12. As recently as June the group was suspected to be behind two attacks. The first, a bombing of a beer garden in the northern city of Maiduguri killed 25 people. A subsequent attack killed three more.

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  • Heard this on the radio this morning. I’m so sad that some people have no regard for human life. This is crazy.

  • B

    Oh wow. Hadn’t heard about this. Too much going on today – can’t keep track of everything – east coast getting slammed by a hurricane, NYC having a mandatory evacuation for the first time in its history, and this. Jeez.

    I do think the reporter’s question on the video is silly – “Why would the UN be targeted in this way?” – since, after all, the UN like any other political entity does its share of dirt (in ignoring certain atrocities, for instance). (I mean the peace-keeping operations of the UN’s Security Council are pretty much dependent upon the whims of the 5 superpower countries who have PERMANENT positions on the council – U.S., U.K., Russia, France, and China – and veto power to block the adoption of any resolutions made by the other 10 countries with non-permanent positions on the Security Council.)

    But I do think it’s necessary to figure out why this attack and why now. This is awful. I feel for all the innocent folks who lost their lives in this violence. Awful. When we will stop hurting innocent people just to get at the ones who arguably deserve it? Sad.