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.