Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Police arrest 50 over UN bomb blast

The Inspector General of Police, Mr Hafiz Ringim yesterday disclosed that 50 suspects have been arrested in connection with last Friday's bomb blast at the United Nations House in Abuja which claimed 23 lives with 73 others still hospitalised.

He said four more injured staff whose condition was considered critical have been flown to South Africa for treatment. Four injured staff had on Sunday been evacuated from the National Hospital Abuja to South Africa.

Ringim who had an interaction with the diplomatic community at the headquarters of the Foreign Affairs Ministry said President Goodluck Jonathan will soon make a pronouncement on progress made so far on police investigation into the blast.

He also disclosed that, his office has received a number of requests for police protection from embassies in Nigeria, since Friday's blast, assuring the diplomatic community of adequate security in Nigeria.

A United Nations vehicle damaged following an explosion from a suicide bomber that rocked the Nigerian UN headquaters is seen in Abuja on August 28, 2011. The death toll following the suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Nigeria has risen to 23, with 81 wounded. AFP PHOTO

The IG, who was invited by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru to brief the diplomatic corps on the readiness of the nation's security operatives to offer adequate protection, said: "The security agencies have made some arrests and President Jonathan will soon make some pronouncement in that regard because I want to leave that to him to address the nation.

"All the missions are required to request for specific assistance of security in order to feel more secured and it shall be granted as I have been mandated with other security apparatus to beef up security around all the foreign missions, the entire country as well as the whole of African region", he said.

Speaking earlier, Ambassador Ashiru described the incident as an unfortunate one, adding that everything will be done to ensure safety and protection of all the diplomatic corps as well as that of Nigerian people.

He, however, appealed to all stakeholders to rise up and fight the new trend saying, "concerted effort must be made by Nigeria and the international community to combat the new form of terrorism affecting the whole world."

Ashiru also assured the diplomatic corps of adequate and proper security of their embassies and personnel. "I invited the IGP to address and assure you of our efforts and for you to have confidence in what we are doing to protect you and other people in the country," he said.

Some members of the diplomatic corps commended government for its efforts in securing and protecting their lives, assuring the federal government of their readiness to help in fighting terrorism in Nigeria.

Four more victims flown to South Africa

Meanwhile, four more victims of the bomb attack, were Monday flown out of Nigeria to South Africa, bringing the number of seriously injured who were evacuated since Saturday to eight.

The Co-ordinator of the UN Communications team in Nigeria, Sina Chuma-Mkandawire, who disclosed this, however declined to release the names of UN staff affected by the blast.

"We are not in a position to give you the names or the nationalities of those affected during the attack. What we can give you are the current figures of those affected", she said.


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