Wednesday, August 31, 2011

UN Building blast: Death toll now 23 - No warning before blast

Daily Trust
29 August 2011

The death toll from last Friday’s bomb blast at the United Nations Building in Abuja reached 23 yesterday, according to UN officials and the Minister of Health, while four unnamed UN staff were flown to South Africa for medical attention. United Nations Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro, who arrived in Abuja at the weekend to assess the situation, also said 26 people still remain in intensive care in hospitals around Abuja.

Migiro, while briefed reporters after going round to inspect the scene of the blast and to visit victims at the various hospitals, also said 73 persons including the 26 in intensive care were among the injured, while an unnamed Federal Ministry of Health official was among the dead.

She said, “Here is what we can tell you for now. Following our meeting with officials from the Department of Health: 21 fatalities, 73 injured, 26 of who remain in intensive care. Four seriously injured UN staff were medically evacuated this morning to Johannesburg.” The figure she gave of 21 fatalities was later updated by the U.N’s spokesman Martin Dawes, who said it had risen to 23. Minister of Health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu also confirmed the figure of 23.

Migiro added, “It is striking that also amongst the dead and wounded are cleaners and security guards, as well as humanitarian partners and an official from the Ministry of Health. This was an attack on a working community that was helping the people of Nigeria.” She said her team is scheduled to meet with President Jonathan Goodluck and the nation’s security apparatus with a view to finding out “exactly what happened, and what can be done in the period ahead to strengthen security.”

Migiro regretted that the UN system and its officials were targeted, saying, “targeting such people is outrageous and morally reprehensible.” She said the UN would not be deterred in its determination to continue it work in the country, adding that the UN had been offered temporary place to continue its work in Nigeria.

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