October 31, 2014 11:55 UTC

In the News

Islamic Group in Nigeria Claims UN Attack

The bombing at the UN building in Abuja killed at least 18 people
The bombing at the UN building in Abuja killed at least 18 people

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story


This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

A deadly car bombing at the United Nations building in Abuja has brought more attention to an Islamic group. The attack happened Friday morning in the Nigerian capital. Later, a man claiming to represent Boko Haram spoke by telephone with a VOA reporter. He said the group carried out the attack and warned that "this is just the beginning."

The spokesman said the bombing was in reaction to the Nigerian military's increased presence in the northeastern state of Borno. Boko Haram is active there. The government sent more troops after an increase in suspected Boko Haram shootings and bombings.

In the Hausa language, the group's name means "western education is a sin." Boko Haram wants Islamic law or sharia to be established more widely across Africa's most populous nation. Western security officials say Boko Haram may have ties to the north African group known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Boko Haram launched a violent uprising in July of two thousand nine. Nigeria's military crushed that unrest. Since then, Boko Haram has attacked police, politicians and community leaders. The group claimed responsibility for a major attack on Abuja's police headquarters in June.

Former VOA reporter Josephine Kamara and her husband work at the UN building in Abuja. She had driven him to work shortly before the explosion. Her husband is safe. She described the destruction to VOA’s Joe DeCapua.

JOSEPHINE KAMARA: “Right now, I’m standing in front of the UN building, Joe and I see the front part of the main UN building. There are shattered windows. Hardly any of the windows are left standing. This building is about three floors, plus the ground floor, making it four floors. All the way up to the top floor, there’s shattered windows, there’s debris. There are mangos, iron rods all over the place. And I see a lot of the UN staffers’ family members are standing out here. Also, it looks like the entire Abuja police force has actually come to the UN building, standing here, trying to get casualties out. Those that are badly hurt have been taken to the hospital.”

In a statement, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called the attack, "barbaric, senseless and cowardly." He said his government remains committed to fighting terrorism.

President Obama also called it a "horrific and cowardly attack."

At UN headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon spoke to the Security Council.

BAN KI-MOON: "Around eleven o'clock this morning local time, the UN house in the Nigeria capital, Abuja, was struck by a car bomb. These buildings house twenty-six humanitarian and development agencies of the UN family. This was an assault on those who devote their lives to helping others. We condemn this terrible act utterly."

The secretary-general warned that UN offices are increasingly at risk of attacks like the bombing in Abuja.

BAN KI-MOON: "Let me say it clearly: these acts of terrorism are unacceptable. They will not deter us from our vital work for the people of Nigeria and the world. This outrageous and shocking attack is evidence that the UN premises are increasingly being viewed as soft targets by extremist elements around the world."

In December of two thousand seven, a bombing at UN offices in the Algerian capital killed seventeen employees. And in August of two thousand three, a suicide bomber struck the UN headquarters in Baghdad. Twenty-two workers were killed. They included the top UN diplomat in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. For the latest news, go to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.

___

Contributing: Margaret Besheer, Joe DeCapua and Anne Look

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • A convoy of peshmerga vehicles is escorted by Turkish Kurds on their way to the Turkish-Syrian border, in Kiziltepe near the southeastern city of Mardin October 29, 2014

    Audio Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Kobani

    Also in the news, Burkina Faso ends efforts to extend its presidential term limit after protests in the capital. Ukraine says the EU will be guarantor in any gas deal with Russia. Myanmar holds a major meeting Friday. And claims of cheating delay SAT results for South Korean and Chinese students. More

  • Ghana Bamboo Bike

    Video Ghana's Bamboo Bikes Hit the Streets

    Bicycle frames are usually made out of materials like carbon fiber, steel or aluminum. But in rural Ghana, a businessman has developed another way to make bicycles from a natural product -- bamboo. The wooden bike parts are sent Ghana to Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. | As It Is More

  • Video Singapore Film Ban Raises Free Speech Issue

    The documentary film, “To Singapore, with Love” tells about political dissidents from Singapore. The film has been shown at public events in Britain, India and Malaysia, among other countries. But one place the movie cannot be seen is Singapore. That is because the government there has banned it. More

  • Believer Benito Martinez (C), dressed as a "devil" wearing a mask, walks around in Almonacid del Marquesado, in central Spain, during the "Endiablada" traditional festival, Feb. 3, 2014.

    Audio A Halloween Special: The Devil is Everywhere ...

    Today we take you to the Dark Side. (insert evil laugh here) We teach expressions that involve the king of evil – the devil. Read on to learn how to “speak of the devil”, “to play devil’s advocate” and to ”make a deal with the devil.” | Words and Their Stories More

  • Orbital Sciences Antares Launch

    Video Questions for NASA after Rocket Explosion

    An unmanned privately-owned rocket bringing supplies to the International Space Station exploded seconds after launch Tuesday night. The accident did not cause any injuries on the ground. However, it has raised questions about efforts by the US space agency NASA to use private companies. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama Halloween

    Audio Halloween Is Big with Kids and Business

    The National Retail Federation says sales of Halloween goods will total about $7.4 billion this year. It says the average American will spend about $77. The group expects 162 million people to celebrate. The NRF predicts 54 million of them will hold Halloween parties. | American Mosaic More

  • A print shows the Second Battle of Bull Run, also called Second Manassas.

    Audio South Defeats North Again at Manassas

    Lincoln named George Pope to lead the Army of Virginia. He wanted to join Pope’s forces with the Army of the Potomac and break through Confederate defenses around Richmond. But General Robert E. Lee decided to hit Pope first. More

  • Star House

    Video Home of Last Comanche Chief Close to Ruins

    One of the most interesting people in U.S. history is Quanah Parker, the last chief of the country’s Comanche Indian tribe. Quanah Parker was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Quanah Parker was a fierce fighter. But that ended one day in 1875. More

  • FILE - A veterinarian at the nonprofit Bali Animal Welfare Association gives a rabies shot to a puppy in Kebon Kaja village, Bangli Regency in Bali, Indonesia.

    Audio Mass Vaccination of Dogs Can Eliminate Rabies

    About 70,000 people worldwide die every year of rabies. Rabies is a viral infection that people get mainly through dog bites. Scientists say vaccinating dogs can effectively get rid of rabies outbreaks in dog populations. And this will have a domino effect, fewer humans with rabies. More

  • Methane oxidizing

    Photogallery Small Organisms in Deep Sea Rocks Eat Methane

    The gas methane has been linked to rising temperatures on Earth. But methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as another “greenhouse gas” -- carbon dioxide. Scientists say both gases trap heat from the sun. They prevent heat from escaping into outer space. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs