A car bombing today in the Nigerian capital of Abuja tore through a United Nations building, killing at least 18 people and wounding a large number of others. Local hospitals were overwhelmed by the number of serious injuries.
According to reports from witnesses, the car was driven through two gates by a suicide bomber, with security guards chasing after it. The car was at the reception desk at the time of detonation, blowing a hole in the side of the building.
A spokesman for the Boko Haram militant faction claimed credit for the bombing, just the latest in a number of such attacks across northern Nigeria in the past few months.
Boko Haram got its start as a fiercely anti-intellectual movement, with the group’s original, Western educated leader angrily ridiculing the notion that the world is round as “unIslamic.” The group at the time armed itself with bows and arrows, arguing guns were too Western for their tastes. After Nigerian troops massacred over 100 of them in 2009, the group became much more aggressive, and turned to more modern equipment like car bombs and machine guns.