Thursday, September 1, 2011

Abuja Blast - UN to Conduct Global Threat Review

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has said the world body will soon conduct a global threat review following Friday's bomb blast at its office in Abuja. The attack claimed no fewer than 23 people while more than 80 were wounded.

Ban, in remarks to the UN Security Council and a closed-door special session of the General Assembly later on Tuesday in New York, said the UN will "also undertake a full review of the incident and our security measures at UN House."

He promised to share the results of the review with member states "at the first opportunity."

The secretary general said the suicide bomb attack in Abuja was the second major "terrorist attack" on UN premises this year.

In April, seven UN staff were killed in Mazai-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, after a mob enraged by Koran burning in the U.S., stormed a UN compound in Afghanistan.

Ban, who addressed the 193-member General Assembly for the first time after he dispatched two senior UN officials to Abuja, described the UN building in Abuja as "a well built structure with robust security measures."

"What we know is that this attack was the work of a suicide bomber who rammed a sport utility vehicle at high speed through the exit gates of the UN compound," he said.

"The UN House in Abuja, home to 26 UN agencies and programmes, is a well built structure with robust security measures.

"This attack is therefore cause for serious reassessment, not just in Nigeria, and not just at high threat locations, but worldwide," he added.

Ban vowed that the world body would not be deterred from continuing its work, saying " the goal of the UN must be to stay and not leave in difficult security conditions."

"We must carry out our vital work, not lock ourselves behind fortresses," he stressed.

He pledged that the UN would do everything possible to assist the victims of the attack and their families.

Ban also announced that one young Norwegian woman named Ingrid Midtgaard from Oslo was among the 11 UN staff killed in the attack in Abuja.

"Clearly, the UN and our people are being targeted more and more often by terrorists worldwide.

"Too often, it seems we are considered a "soft target. The security of our staff working overseas must be paramount.

"We must draw the lessons learned from Abuja and together we must commit the effort and resources to implement them," he said.

He announced that the Deputy Secretary-General would hold a town hall meeting in New York on Thursday to discuss the tragedy.

Ban thanked the Nigerian government for its assistance in the aftermath of the attack and praised the courage and dedication of the UN team in Abuja.

Daily Champion

Related stories: Bomb explosion at UN office in Abuja leaves several dead

Video - Suicide blast kills 18 at UN in Nigeria

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