Attack on United Nations office in Nigeria: senseless and deplorable

Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten1 September 2011 - On 26 August, the United Nations office in Abuja was the target of an attack that shocked the world and drew global condemnation. From Heads of State to members of the general public, people at all levels have denounced what was a deplorable and cowardly act.

The car bomb that was detonated last Friday morning not only cut short the lives of friends and colleagues working for the betterment of humanity but has also hindered the efforts of the United Nations to help the people of Nigeria and the region.

Tragically, Friday's attack killed at least 23 people, 11 of them United Nations staff, including one UNODC staff member. Two other UNODC colleagues, both Nigerian, were also injured in the attack; one is in a stable condition while the other sustained less severe injuries.

UNODC staff member Ms. Ingrid Midtgaard, a 30-year old Norwegian national, was killed in the attack on the United Nations building while carrying out her work. That work covered issues including the fight against corruption, drug trafficking, drug abuse and terrorism and represented an important contribution to efforts that are critical to Nigeria and the overall stability and growth of West Africa.

Condemning the attack as a "senseless act of violence", Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director and head of the United Nations Office at Vienna, said: "Ingrid's death and the injuries sustained by our other colleagues are the consequences of a needless and deplorable crime. Ingrid was working to protect others from crime and terrorism and she has now tragically become a victim herself while striving to help others."

Warmly regarded by her peers and superiors, the Executive Director recognized Ingrid's selfless work towards building a better world. As one of her colleagues commented, "Ingrid represented the best the United Nations has to offer". Her sad and tragic death is a loss to UNODC and the United Nations as a whole.

Mr. Fedotov offered his condolences to Ingrid's family and to the families of colleagues from other United Nations agencies who also lost their lives.