Attack on UN Abuja Compound: World Leaders Express Condemnation, Sympathies for Victims

    Diplomats and members of the United Nations staff observe a moment of silence for those who died in the car bombing of the U.N. compound in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo by: Rick Bajornas

    The United Nations mourns anew following the death of its workers in a car bombing of the U.N. compound in Abuja, Nigeria, on Aug. 26. This is considered one of the worst attacks against the global body in recent years.

    Expressions of condemnation and condolences poured from world leaders and development figures following the tragedy. Here are some of them:

    “This was an assault on those who devote their lives to helping others. We condemn this terrible act, utterly. … On this very sad occasion, I extend my deepest sympathies to the victims and their families. The UN will undertake every possible effort to assist them during this difficult time.” – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    “The people who serve the United Nations do so with a simple purpose: to try to improve the lives of their neighbors and promote the values on which the UN was founded – dignity, freedom, security, and peace. The UN has been working in partnership with the people of Nigeria for more than five decades. An attack on Nigerian and international public servants demonstrates the bankruptcy of the ideology that led to this heinous action.” - U.S. President Barack Obama

    “There is no justification for this violence. These individuals were working to promote peace, expand opportunity and build a safer and more prosperous nation. The United Nations has been working side by side with Nigeria for more than five decades and the United States strongly supports its efforts. Vicious terrorist attacks such as these only strengthen our resolve and commitment to the work of the United Nations and the people of Nigeria.” – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

    “I was deeply saddened by the loss of life in the brutal attack on a United Nations building in Abuja today. I extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of the victims, and to you and your UN colleagues. The European Union strongly condemns this senseless  act of violence towards the UN and its personnel.” - Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, in a letter sent to U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon

    “The EU condemns in the strongest possible terms this criminal attack. I would like to present my deep and most respectful condolences to the families of the victims, to all those affected, and to the Government and the people of Nigeria. The European Union expresses its solidarity with the United Nations family at this moment of tragedy.” - Catherine Ashton, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy and vice president of the European Commission

    “Canada strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack against the United Nations offices in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. This type of violence is totally unacceptable. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my sympathies to the victims of this attack and their families.” - Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird

    “Around the world the UN works for peace, security and international cooperation and an attack on the UN is an attack on these principles.” - U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague

    “Such acts of violence are completely unacceptable, and Norway condemns all use of terror. Those responsible must be brought to justice. It is particularly worrying that the attacks were targeted at the UN, which works to promote peace and development. Our sympathy goes to the UN and the people and authorities of Nigeria.” - Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre

    “The UN staff members were working for peace: this is yet another tragedy following the terrible attack on the UN compound in Mazar-e-Sharif in April. My thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of all who lost their lives.” – Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal

    “There is no justification for such brutality, there are no rewards for such cowardice, and there must be no impunity for those who are responsible. Today, we mourn those who were lost and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of the victims. The United States will stand with the United Nations and the people of Nigeria as we work together to recover from this tragedy.” - Susan E. Rice, U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations

    “The news of today’s deadly bomb blast reminds us of the courage of the men and women of the UN who dedicate their lives to service around the world in the name of peace, stability, and progress. Members of the UN Foundation Board were in Nigeria last year and saw firsthand the impact of the UN’s work to save children’s lives, improve the health of women, and build an innovative, prosperous future for Africa.” - United Nations Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth

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    About the author

    • Eliza Villarino

      Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.