UN Mourns Loss of 17 Bombed Colleagues

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Staff of the United Nations System in The Gambia yesterday met at 10:00 am to observe a minute’s silence in honour of 17 colleagues now confirmed killed in the attack against the United Nations office building in Algeria last Tuesday, 11 December. The minute of silence was observed by all UN agencies and programmes throughout the world.

The suicide vehicle bomb attack of the UN House and UNHCR office buildings in Algeria occurred in the morning of 11 December. The bomb detonated on the street in front of the UN house and the UNHCR offices, causing the UN office structure to partially collapse and damaging the UNHCR office along with several buildings nearby.

In The Gambia, Mr. Malcolm Duthie, the acting UN Resident Coordinator for the UN system in The Gambia, announced that staff here joined UN staff all over the world in condemning this unacceptable crime that occurred in Algeria. “Today we have learnt that the numbers killed in the bombing of the UN building were even higher than feared. Seventeen UN colleagues have now been confirmed killed. These national and international staff came from a range or UN agencies including ILO, UNHCR, UNFPA, UNDP and WFP, which were all housed in the building. We convey our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who died, to those who are wounded and all those traumatised by this terrible event. We also share our condolences with the loved ones of all the innocent Algerians murdered in these bombings.”

Mr. Duthie also passed on a message from the U.N. Secretary General, “that the attack on the UN building was not only against the United Nations, not only against Algerians, but against human kind itself. Our colleagues in Algeria were working with no other mission than to support the people of Algeria in building a better future. Those who target such workers, as well as innocent civilians, commit an unspeakable crime. It hurts all nations - large and small, rich and poor. It takes its toll on human beings of every age and income, culture and religion.”

Mr. Duthie expressed the hope that the people and the government of The Gambia, which is a member of the United Nations and has benefited from the services and support of the UN and its national and international staff, would join them in condemning the event and in mourning their loss. “I do not wish to see these staff forgotten as they are the foot soldiers of the better world that we all want,” he said.

Source: The Point