1 more UN worker dies after Aug. Nigeria HQ blast

AP News
Posted: Oct 19, 2011 12:51 PM
1 more UN worker dies after Aug. Nigeria HQ blast

One more staff member has died nearly two months after a car bombing hit the U.N.'s headquarters in Nigeria, bringing the death toll to 24, a U.N. spokesman said Wednesday.

Sunday Nwachukwu, who worked for The United Nations Development Program, died in South Africa on Oct. 9, spokesman Kelechi Onyemaobi said in a statement.

Nwachukwu was one of 12 U.N. staff members who was flown on life support to South Africa for treatment after the Aug. 26 attack, the statement said, but Onyemaobi could not immediately comment on the others' conditions.

"He was a hard working colleague and a friendly brother," Daouda Toure, the U.N.'s Nigeria Coordinator is quoted as saying.

A radical Muslim sect locally known as Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the blast that wounded 116 people. It was the group's first suicide attack targeting foreigners.

A Norwegian staffer, Ingrid Midtgaard from Oslo, died in the attack that also killed 11 Nigerian staff members.

"Their sacrifice will not be in vain," Toure said.

Days after the blast, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the U.N. Security Council that the world body would review security measures at the building that was home to several U.N. agencies in Nigeria's capital.

U.N. operations in Africa's most populous nation have since been disrupted with some 400 staffers working from temporary spaces.

Twelve non-staffers also died in the blast. They included a Kenyan and a citizen of Ivory Coast, authorities said.

"Clearly, the U.N. and our people are being targeted more and more often by terrorists worldwide," the U.N. chief had said.

A suicide bomber rammed through two sets of gates to reach the U.N. building's glass reception hall. There, the bomber detonated explosives powerful enough to bring down parts of the concrete structure and blow out glass windows from other buildings in the quiet Abuja neighborhood filled with diplomatic posts.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, wants to implement a strict version of Shariah law in the nation, and has reported links to African terror groups al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and al-Shabab of Somalia.


Associated Press writer Yinka Ibukun in Lagos, Nigeria contributed to this report.