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Condolences following attack on UN House in Nigeria

In a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed condolences on behalf of the World Council of Churches following the attack on the United Nations House in Abuja, Nigeria, on Friday, 26 August 2011.

30 August 2011

Geneva, 30 August 2011

Your Excellency,

It is with profound sadness that we received the news of the attack on the United Nations House in Abuja, Nigeria, on Friday, 26 of August with a car bomb.  I take this opportunity to extend our heart-felt condolences to you, all the staff and the families of your colleagues who were killed in the attack and our prayers for all those injured and traumatized by this dreadful crime.

I understand that these buildings housed many humanitarian and development agencies of the UN family and that many of the victims of this attack had devoted their time and life to a mission of helping others.

Likewise, in targeting the UN Staff, the perpetrators have exhibited an abysmal disregard for the commitment of the UN and the international community, especially their efforts toward peace-building.  We condemn this senseless act of violence carried out against innocent workers of the UN and the UN family of agencies. It is in every aspect unjustifiable and those responsible for this attack must be held accountable.

I would also like to take this opportunity to let you know that the World Council of Churches (WCC) convened an International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in May of this year in Kingston, Jamaica. The nearly one thousand participants issued a common message.  The first line of that message reads, "We understand peace and peacemaking as an indispensable part of our common faith." It goes on to say "...violence is contrary to the will of God and can never resolve conflicts." It further reminds all of us that we all have "a day-to-day responsibility to prevent, that is, to avoid violence at its root."

The WCC is working at various levels to promote just peace and stresses the importance of peace for all, urging all to reject violence and provocation.

On behalf of the WCC once again I extend our sincere condolences and offer our prayers.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General secretary
World Council of Churches