UN Saddened by Death of Staff Member Fred Simiyu Willis


The United Nations today expressed sadness on the passing of a UNICEF staff member as a result of the suicide bombing that struck the world body’s offices in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, four months ago.

Fred Simiyu Willis is an employee of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). He died on 23 December at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, where he had been on medical evacuation after the blast, the agency confirmed today.

According to media reports, Willis, was said to have undergone multiple operations after which he developed several complications.

The Kenyan national had worked for the agency in Abuja since September 2004. He served as a health specialist focused on vaccine security, supply and logistics.

Mr. Willis’ passing takes the UN death toll from the terrorist attack on 26 August to 13, with 12 non-UN staff also killed.

Kate Donovan, a spokesperson for UNICEF, said the agency was deeply saddened by the death of Mr. Willis, whom she described as a “very dedicated” employee.

“It’s a loss for the children of Nigeria and for all of us. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and to his colleagues… He was a very highly valued member of the staff.” – Ms. Donovan

She stressed that Mr. Willis’ efforts had helped to ensure immunization campaigns across the large African country.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.