Nigeria

Nigeria blames Boko Haram 'element' for UN attack

UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro (R) gestures to a man injured in the suicide attack on the U.N. headquarters, as she visits victims of the blast at the intensive care unit of the national hospital in Abuja
UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro (R) gestures to a man injured in the suicide attack on the U.N. headquarters, as she visits victims of the blast at the intensive care unit of the national hospital in Abuja REUTERS/Rebecca Blackwell/Pool
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Nigeria's secret police said Wednesday that they are looking for a suspect with Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram links in connection with last week’s attack on the UN headquarters there.

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At least 23 people were killed in the attack.

"Investigation has revealed that one Mamman Nur, a notorious Boko Haram element with Al-Qaeda links who returned recently from Somalia, working in concert with the two (arrested) suspects masterminded the attack on the United Nations building in Abuja," a statement said.

The suspect has been declared wanted following Friday's suicide attack, it said.

The statement said the two other suspects were arrested on August 21 -- days ahead of the UN bombing -- and were "notorious leaders of the Boko Haram extremists sect."

The Nigerian Islamist sect known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Their arrests came after authorities received intelligence on August 18 of plans for attacks in the Nigerian capital Abuja, it said.

"On 18th August, 2011, precise intelligence was obtained by this service that some Boko Haram elements were on a mission to attack unspecified targets in Abuja ...," according to the statement.

The two suspects being held were identified as Babagana Ismail Kwaljima, aka Abu Summaya, and Babagana Mali, aka Bulama.

There have been growing concerns over whether Boko Haram has formed links with extremist groups outside Nigeria, including Al-Qaeda's north African branch and Somalia's Shebab fighters.

Alleged sect members have claimed that they have received training in foreign countries, and analysts point out that their attacks have grown increasingly sophisticated.

Boko Haram has been blamed for scores of shootings and bomb blasts, mainly in Nigeria's northeast, but it has not been known to target international institutions such as the UN.

It claimed a bomb attack targeting national police headquarters in Abuja in June that killed at least two people.
 

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