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United Nations Death Toll In Algiers Reaches 17

Ban Ki-moon voices profound sadness as UN death toll in Algiers reaches 17

As the United Nations today confirmed that 17 of its staff have perished in the terror attacks in Algiers, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his great sorrow at the toll this "unspeakable crime" has taken.

"I have learned with profound sadness that the death toll on the bombing in Algiers last Tuesday is even higher than we feared," Mr. Ban said in a statement, after the Organization announced that 17 UN staff members are now confirmed dead following the car bombing in the Algerian capital. "Words cannot begin to do justice to the grief I feel.

"I send my prayers to the loved ones of those who perished, to those who are wounded, and to those who are grappling with trauma after this terrible event," stated Mr. Ban. "I send my thoughts to all their colleagues who work every day, in difficult and dangerous circumstances, for peace and security, development and human rights around the world."

He added that "those who target innocent civilians in this way commit an unspeakable crime. Our colleagues there were working with no other mission than to support the people of Algeria in building a better future."

The staff members confirmed to have died and whose families have been notified include Hind Boukroufa, Djamel Rezzoug, Saadia Boucelham, Samia Hammoutene, Chadli Hamza and Mohamed Khelladi of Algeria, as well as Steven Olejas of Denmark, all of whom worked for the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Algerians Adnane Souilah, Kamel Sait and Mustapha Benbara (UN Population Fund); Hanniche Abel-Rahim (International Labour Organization); Nabil Slimani and Karim Bentebal (UN High Commissioner for Refugees); Hakim Si Larbi (Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS); and Mohamed Laseli (UN Industrial Development Organization) were also killed, as were Gene Luna of the Philippines (World Food Programme); and Babacar Ndiaye of Senegal (Department of Safety and Security).

UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters that efforts on the ground to clear away the rubble have led to the discovery and identification of more bodies.

Mr. Ban has sent several of his top aids to Algiers to determine how best to aid those injured in the attack and the families of the victims.

Kemal Dervis, the head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), has met with the families of the victims as well as those who were injured in Algiers. "It was sad to see the impact of the attack on his colleagues, he said, adding that "the victims are not soldiers who signed up for battle, but people, mostly Algerians, who are working for peace, development and to alleviate human suffering."


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