August 27, 2015 20:53 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

  • Audio China's Slowing Economy Affects Markets Worldwide

    China’s stock market has dropped by more than 40 percent since June. Signs of a slowing economy in China have had effects on other stock markets and raised questions of whether measure to increase growth are enough. More

  • Audio Fighting Climate Change Important to Obama

    President Obama has called climate change the greatest threat to national security. At a clean energy meeting this week, he pushed solar power and other renewable energy sources. His political opponents say his plans will hurt the oil, gas and coal industries and the American economy. More

  • Audio Book Pages Could Provide Safe Drinking Water

    The expression "a thirst for knowledge" may soon have a new meaning for millions of people who have no way to get clean water. Researchers have developed a book with specially treated pages that can make water safe to drink. More

  • Audio Philippines Looking at 'Ecotourism Zone' in South China Sea

    The Philippines has launched a campaign to push for an "ecotourism zone" in the middle of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Under the plan, tourists could visit Philippine-controlled parts of the disputed area. China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also have claims to the area. More

  • Audio Nairobi Music Store Sells Vinyl Records Again

    Musicians once performed at the store, which used to sell record albums. Cassettes, CDs and MP3s caused lowered sales because they were easily-copied. But the renewed popularity of vinyl records may save the store, and some once-forgotten East African music is being heard again. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Millions with Mental Illness Get Little or No Treatment

    The World Health Organization reports that hundreds of millions of people worldwide have a mental disorder. However, the WHO adds that most get little or no treatment. Learn the vocabulary needed to talk about this important study. More

  • Hoarding

    Video Could Organizing Your Home Change Your Life?

    A new movement in the United States is all about clearing away unnecessary things in your life. A Japanese cleaning expert on clutter is now the hot topic on playgrounds, at work and parties. But can cleaning out clutter really help you succeed at your job or lose weight? Read on to learn more. More

  • Video More Latin for Your English!

    In part two of our series on Latin’s influence on American English, we learn more Latin words and phrases. From popular movies to rock songs, Latin is used very frequently in American English. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: We Suggest That You Learn the Subjunctive

    How can we be polite and stress urgency at the same time? The subjunctive offers speakers a polite and diplomatic way to give a command or express that something is very important. Learn how to use it in noun clauses from the Everyday Grammar experts. More

  • Video Movie Shows Rap Group 'Straight Outta Compton'

    The music genre known as gangster, or gangsta, rap was born in the poor, dangerous neighborhood of Compton, in Los Angeles, California. The violence of street life there and tense relations between the community and police influenced the sound. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs