Islamist sect claims Nigeria U.N. bombing

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 30, 2011 11:30 AM

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters)- An Islamist sect claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on the U.N. headquarters in Nigeria that killed 23 people, demanding the release of prisoners and an end to a security crackdown to prevent further bombings.

Boko Haram, which has been behind almost daily shootings and attacks with homemade bombs in the remote northeast, was the prime suspect of Friday's car bomb on the United Nations' Abuja office -- one of deadliest attacks on the world body in its history.

"We are responsible for the bomb attack carried out on the U.N. building in Abuja," a Boko Haram spokesman calling himself Abu Kakah told local journalists in a statement over the weekend.

The bomb gutted a lower floor, smashed almost all of the building's windows and wounded 76 people, U.N. officials said. The driver was killed in what could be Nigeria's first suicide bomb attack. President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned the strike but refused to be drawn on who could have carried it out.

(Reporting by Ibrahim Mshelizza; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Joe Brock and David Stamp)