Nigeria UN bomb: Video of 'Boko Haram bomber' released

A soldier stands guard next to the damaged UN headquarters in Abuja (27 August 2011) FBI agents from the US were asked to help with the Nigerian investigation

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A video message has emerged in Nigeria purportedly featuring a suicide bomber alleged to have carried out the attack on the UN headquarters last month.

Islamist sect Boko Haram claimed the attack, in which 23 people were killed and more than 80 injured.

The authenticity of the video, obtained by AFP news agency, cannot be verified.

It shows the alleged bomber asking his family to understand his action, which he said was meant to send a message to the US president "and other infidels".

In the 26 August attack, the bomber drove his vehicle through the Abuja headquarters' two security barriers, then crashed into the reception area before detonating the explosives.

The blast was powerful enough to bring down parts of the structure, where about 400 UN personnel work, and blow out the windows of nearby buildings.

'International'

AFP said it had obtained two videos which included 25 minutes of speeches by the alleged UN bomber.

He is seen holding an AK-47 automatic rifle, with two other people leaning against the wall.

A man claiming to be a spokesman for the sect told AFP the alleged bomber was called Mohammed Abul Barra, a 27-year-old married man from the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.

The softly-spoken man wears a striped shirt, a turban and what looks to be a suicide vest, AFP reports.

Analysis

The existence of these videos suggests a certain evolution of Boko Haram, in the adoption of methods of communication that were not common to them in the past.

They show an organisation which is far different from the local group fighting a tit-for-tat battle with the army and police in northern Nigeria. This is another indication that this is now another beast, more international in its ambitions.

There are hints of possible inspiration from abroad - even though people would be cautious to see these videos as indication of material links to al-Qaeda.

Certainly the sophistication of the attacks, however, suggests Boko Haram are getting external help enabling them to fund them. But no-one is saying they have conclusive proof that they are influenced by al-Qaeda or that they are receiving the majority of their support from outside Nigeria.

Other passages in the videos refer to the UN headquarters as a "forum of all the global evil", and offer praise for Osama Bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader killed by US special forces in Pakistan.

Nigerian officials have previously stated that a Boko Haram militant with alleged links to al-Qaeda was suspected of being behind the bombing.

Boko Haram is fighting for the establishment of Sharia - Islamic law - in Nigeria.

The group is alleged to have had contacts with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates in North Africa, and al-Shabab in Somalia.

Loosely translated from the local Hausa language, Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden".

For two years, the Islamist group has been targeting government and mounting a campaign of killings.

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