ABUJA(AFP/NAN) – A suicide blast that rocked the UN building in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Friday has killed at least 18 people and wounded eight others, a police commissioner said as rescue operations continued.
“So far, we have 18 dead and eight injured,” local police commissioner Mike Zuokumor told journalists.
“It was a Honda Accord car. The suicide bomber died immediately as the bomb cut him into three. I cannot say how many people are still in the building. The rescue operation is still on.”
An eye witness told NAN that the blasts which occurred around 10.am, ripped through the five-storey building housing about 300 members of staff, drawn from all arms of the UN System.
Another account attributed it to a suicide bomber who drove in a truck through the exit gate.
NAN reports that scores of blast victims were evacuated to the National Hospital, about half a kilometre away, where doctors battled to save their lives.
At the Garki Hospital, hospital sources said that two corpses were brought in, while the third victim brought in alive died moments later.
The central business district where the building is situated, is also home to many foreign diplomatic missions, NAN reports.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, while the number of casualties has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Interior, Abba Morro told reporters at the scene that it was too early to determine the damage and the number of casualties.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri described it as an attack on the international community, saying that the situation was under investigation.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu expressed shock, saying it was a cause for concern for Nigeria.
Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, the acting Director-General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), said it was a wake-up call for security agencies in the country.
He told NAN that the incident would not affect the nation’s demand for a UN Security Council seat, adding that, “the quest is based on criteria, not criminality as terrorism is not unique to Nigeria alone.’’
Meanwhile rescue workers are busy evacuating victims.
Our thoughts and hearts are with our UN friends in Abuja.