Monday, 5 September 2011

Nigeria: SSS reports provisional findings on UN bomb

The State Security Services (SSS) have released a statement on their findings regarding the bombing of the UN office complex in the federal capital Abuja on 26th August.

According to the statement, released by SSS spokesperson Marilyn Ogar, “On 18th of 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, on 21st August at around 1300 hours, a joint operation by all security services had led to the arrest of two Boko Haram leaders now believed to be involved in planning the bombing, namely Babagana Ismail Kwaljima (a.k.a Abu Summaya) and Babagana Mali (a.k.a Bulama). However, their detention was not sufficient to prevent the attack five days later.

According to the SSS, the men are currently being held at a military facility and have made “valuable statements”.

Further investigation by security agents confirmed reports that Al-Qa'ida has made incursions into the Boko Haram sect. According to the SSS, the mastermind of the UN bomb blast is one Mamman Nur, described as “a notorious Boko Haram element with Al-Qa'ida links who recently returned from Somalia”.

Nur, who has been declared 'wanted' is said to have worked in concert with two other suspects in masterminding the bomb blast.

The UN complex, which is located in the high security diplomatic area of Abuja, was bombed at around 10.45 on 26th August by a suspected suicide bomber or bombers, who apparently drove through the exit barriers of the building in an explosives-laden SUV, and into the front office wall of the building, setting off the explosives.

So far, 23 people have been confirmed dead in the blast, 18 of whom died at the scene, with the other five dying in hospital later. Thirty-two victims are still receiving treatment.

The UN has confirmed that ten of the dead were UN staff, and nine of them were Nigerians. The US' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been drafted in by the UN to assist and lead the investigations into the bombing. According to UN Under-Secretary for Safety and Security Gregory Starr, the investigation nevertheless remains under the control of the Nigerian government.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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