ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigeria will bring terrorism "under control" and confront the radical Muslim sect that claimed responsibility for a car bombing at the country's United Nations headquarters, killing at least 19 people, its president vowed Saturday amid the wreckage.
President Goodluck Jonathan stepped through shattered glass and past dried pools of blood at the damaged building as U.N. employees salvaged printers, computers and all they could carry to keep the mission running.
The U.N.' s top official in Nigeria promised humanitarian aid would continue to flow through the world body to Africa's most populous nation, even though the Boko Haram sect — which claimed responsibility for the attack — views it as a target.
"I think it gives us more strength to continue helping the population," said Agathe Lawson, the U.N.' s acting resident coordinator in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the feared sect told journalists Saturday in its home of northeast Nigeria that it considers the U.S., the U.N. and the Nigerian government the "common enemies" in its fight, promising future attacks.
Jonathan walked by the battered exit gate the suicide bomber rammed through to reach the massive U.N. building's glass reception hall Friday morning. There, the bomber detonated explosives powerful enough to bring down parts of the concrete structure and blow out glass windows from other buildings in the quiet neighborhood filled with diplomatic posts.
A bevy of bodyguards, police, soldiers and members of the country's secret police surrounded Jonathan on his tour. The soft-spoken president promised journalists gathered there that the nation would stand up to terrorism, though Boko Haram continues to carry out bombings and assassinations seemingly at will.
"Terrorist attacks on any individual or part of the world is a terrorist attack on the rest of the world," Jonathan said. "Terrorists don't care about who is anywhere."
Jonathan did not say who was responsible for the attack, only addressing Boko Haram in response to a reporter's question.
"Boko Haram is a local group linked up with terrorist activities," the president said. "As a government, we are working on this and we will bring it under control."
The death toll for the attack rose to 19 on Saturday, said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency.