Review urged better training following Nairobi attack
A federal review recommended better security and awareness training for personnel posted abroad after an employee at Canada’s High Commission in Nairobi was killed during a terrorist attack on a shopping mall, newly released documents show.
The internal review also called for re-examination of the overall plan for responding to critical incidents overseas involving federal personnel, says a summary of the findings.
The summary, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, flowed from a February 2014 meeting of interdepartmental task force members who had grappled with the horrors that unfolded in Kenya five months earlier.
On Sept. 21, 2013, al-Shabab gunmen attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. Among those murdered in the assault was Annemarie Desloges, a Citizenship and Immigration Canada foreign service officer on assignment with the Canada Border Services Agency at the high commission. Vancouver businessman Naguib Damji was also killed.
Upon learning a federal employee may have been a casualty in the Saturday attack, the Security and Emergency Management Bureau of Foreign Affairs convened an interdepartmental task force meeting at noon eastern time, just under five hours after headquarters was alerted.
A number of things worked well during the emergency response, despite the fact the incident was “quickly evolving” and there was “a lack of clarity surrounding the nature and scale of the event,” the review summary says.
For instance, the appointment of a liaison officer from Citizenship and Immigration as the single point of contact for Desloges’ family was “absolutely vital.”
However, the fact that Desloges was on assignment with the border services agency “caused a delay in CBSA becoming involved in the response,” the summary says.
Still, the review recommended enhancing Foreign Affairs’ training and awareness program related to personal security abroad.
Paramedics run beside parked ambulances outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi after heavy shooting Sept. 23, 2013. A federal review recommended better security and awareness training for personnel posted abroad after an employee at Canada’s High Commission in Nairobi was killed during the attack, newly released documents show.