ABUJA, Nigeria — A car bomb ripped through the United Nations' headquarters in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on Friday, killing at least 10 people, security sources and witnesses said.
They said the car rammed into the office building before exploding in an attack similar a June assault on the Abuja police headquarters claimed by Boko Haram, a Nigerian radical Islamist sect.
"We have had 10 dead and there could be more," said a medical official who declined to give his name.
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.
Nigerian authorities blamed a militant Islamic group known as Boko Haram, which draws inspiration from Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, for a series of bomb attacks and killings since last year. It claimed responsibility for a June 16 blast at the national police headquarters in Abuja that left five people dead and 11 injured.
The blast rocked the area, flattening a wing of the building, just before 11 a.m. in the same neighborhood as the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic posts in Nigeria's capital.
Witnesses at the city’s National Hospital said they saw more than a dozen victims arrive. “The hospital has suspended normal services to attend to the victims, and we the patients were asked to go,” said Jessica Effiong, a witness.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with more than 140 million people, is roughly split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south. More than 14,000 people died in ethnic and religious clashes in the West African nation between 1999 and 2009, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.