Condolences for Kabul victims’ families

19 September 2012

President Jacob Zuma has conveyed his condolences to the families of the eight South Africans killed in a suicide bombing in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Tuesday.

“On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma wishes to express his heartfelt and sincere condolences to the families, friends and communities of the eight South Africans who were victims of a suicide attack,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.

Zuma, who was in Brussels, Belgium for the 5th South Africa-European Union Summit when the attack took place, said he was “deeply saddened by the deaths of the South Africans, as well as the other lives that were lost during this tragic incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased.”

A suicide bomber reportedly rammed her explosive-laden vehicle into a minibus carrying the eight, who were working for a local company, killing them along with a local driver.

Three passers-by were also killed and two security officials were injured by the bombing that took place along the main road, leading to the airport in Kabul’s sub-district 15.

Hizb-i-Islami, the second largest insurgent group in Afghanistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A spokesperson for the group told local media via phone that a woman suicide bomber of the group had carried out the attack in retaliation for an anti-Islam film made privately in the US and posted on the internet last week.

The Department of International Relations said it was in possession of the list of names of the deceased, and that efforts to confirm their identities as well as to contact their next-of-kin were under way.

“Government efforts to confirm their identities and to contact their next-of-kin are continuing, and families are receiving support through the consular,” the department said.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips has also offered condolences to the families of the South Africans who were killed.

“As we mourn the death of colleagues at the US Consulate in Benghazi, we offer our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the South Africans who lost their lives in Kabul today,” Gips in a statement on Tuesday.

“As [US Secretary of State, Hillary] Clinton has said, there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”