March 30 2004
UN official fired over Iraq bomb
The UN’s headquarters were gutted by the blast last August
The United Nations secretary general sacked security co-ordinator Tun
Myat after a scathing report on last year’s bomb attack on the UN’s
HQ in Baghdad.
But Kofi Annan refused an offer to resign from his deputy Louise
Frechette, his spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters at the United
Mr Eckhard said the failures had been “collective”, except in the
case of Tun Myat, who had specific responsibility.
UN special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello was among the 22 people
More than 100 others were hurt as suicide bombers apparently drove a
truck laden with explosives into the compound on 19 August.
In other developments in Iraq:
A roadside bomb kills a US soldier near the flashpoint town of
Falluja, west of Baghdad, the US military says
The US Army admits responsibility for the deaths of two Iraqi
journalists working for the Arab al-Arabiya satellite television on
18 March in Baghdad. It says it regrets what it describes as the
‘Delusion’ of security
A 30-page summary of the report – circulated internally within the UN
at the beginning of March – was released to journalists on Monday.
The report suggests that UN officials failed to ask searching
questions before deciding to return UN staff to Baghdad, under heavy
The report was particularly critical of two UN officials in Baghdad,
accusing them of “a dereliction of duty” and “a lethargy that is
bordering on gross negligence” for failing to shield the office
windows with blast-resistant film.
The two – Jordan’s Paul Aghadjanian and Pa Momodou Sinyan of Gambia –
were charged with misconduct and will face disciplinary proceedings.
The report also suggests that Mr Vieira de Mello was among other
senior managers who failed to appreciate a building security threat
“They were living under the delusion the UN would not be attacked,”
Mr Eckhard said on Monday.
Mr Vieira de Mello’s deputy Ramiro Lopes da Silva – who was
responsible for security on site at the Baghdad hotel where the UN
staff were based – will be reassigned elsewhere with no security
duties, Mr Eckhard said.