Re­view urged bet­ter train­ing fol­low­ing Nairobi at­tack

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - BY JIM BRONSKILL

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.

CP FILE PHOTO

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.

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