Abuja, Aug 26: A suicide attacker today rammed an explosives-laden car into the main UN office building in the Nigerian capital Abuja, killing at least 18 people, including two women and a foreigner.
The blast destroyed a huge portion of the five-storey building that houses 400 employees of the United Nations in Nigeria.
Police said 18 people died in the blast and eight others injured. Among the dead were a foreign national, who was not identified, and two women, local ‘Daily Times' newspaper reported.
The rescue work was going on at the site and fire fighters and police officers had cordoned off the area.
An eyewitness said some 300 people could be trapped in the building as its first, second and third floors, including the reception area, were gravely damaged by the blast.
“The UN building is located at Area 1 Abuja and I could see emergency and security agencies scrambling to evacuate the building,” he told PTI.
Police spokesman Yemi Ajayi said police had dispatched its men to provide security and help to the relief workers.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is suspected that this could be be the handwork of radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram, the newspaper said.
According to rescuers, the workers at the basement of the building were among those worst affected by the blast.
“All the people in the basement were all killed. Their bodies are littered all over the place. I saw about 5 dead bodies,” Ocilaje Michael, a United Nations staff member at the building, was quoted as saying.
Oil-rich Nigeria's population is 150 million and the country is split between a largely Christian south and Muslim north.
Nigeria has faced an increasing threat from Boko Haram, which wants to impose the strict Shariah law on the country.
The sect is responsible for assassinations and bombings, including the June car bombing of the national headquarters of the federal police that killed at least two people. PTI