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September 02, 2011

Nigerian President Vows No Effort Spared Against Terrorism

Nigeria's president says the country has "strong leads" on who is involved in the "terror war" on Nigerians, a week after an attack on the U.N. headquarters in Abuja killed 23 people.

President Goodluck Jonathan said Friday Nigerian security forces will "spare no effort or resource" in bringing terrorism under control. He said he is directing security forces to place a greater emphasis on intelligence and "citizen's participation."

The address, also published on the government website, marked the launch of an overhaul of Nigeria's national driver's license and vehicle license plates. Mr. Jonathan said the "consistent use of vehicles" in recent attacks shows the importance of the project, which will help create a comprehensive database of drivers and vehicles.

He said the overhaul has been in the works for several years, but gained urgency after a car bombing last year, and again after last week's U.N. attack, which Nigerian authorities said was orchestrated by a man with links to al-Qaida.

The State Security Service said Mamman Nur, who remains at large, is a member of the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram and masterminded the bombing of the U.N. office, "in concert" with two other suspects who are already in custody. The arrested suspects were identified as Ismail Kwaljima and Babagan Mali, also said to be members of Boko Haram.

Officials said Nur had recently returned from Somalia, where al-Qaida is actively assisting the insurgent group al-Shabab.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sinful" has been blamed for many bombings and shootings of authority figures in northeastern Nigeria, mainly in the state of Borno. The group has also claimed responsibility for attacks in Abuja, including a June bombing outside Nigeria's national police headquarters.

The group wants a strict form of Islamic law applied more widely across Nigeria.