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UN says it had no warning on bombing

ABUJA, Nigeria -- The United Nations had no prior warnings about threats against its Nigeria headquarters, the world body's security chief said yesterday, as top officials mourned the 23 killed in a suicide car bombing there.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, along with Nigeria's foreign minister and the local UN representative, laid red and white roses yesterday near a UN flag flying at half staff at the site of Friday's attack.

UN security chief Gregory Starr, who also visited the wreckage, said the UN knew of no specific threat against them in Africa's most populous nation.

"We had some general threats worldwide and some very mixed, general threat information about the environment" in Nigeria, Starr told The Associated Press. "But no, no advanced warning."

A suicide bomber rammed through two sets of gates to reach the massive UN building's glass reception hall Friday morning. The bomber detonated explosives powerful enough to bring down parts of the concrete structure and blow out windows from other buildings in the quiet neighborhood of diplomatic posts.

A radical Muslim sect operating in northeast Nigeria, known locally as Boko Haram, claimed responsibility.

The death toll rose yesterday to 23 killed, said Martin Dawes, a UN spokesman. He said another 81 people were wounded in the attack.

Boko Haram vowed Saturday to commit future attacks.

Hours earlier, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan promised to bring terrorism in the oil-rich nation "under control." But his weakened government has so far been unable to stop Boko Haram from carrying out assassinations and bombings at will.

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