New York, NY (BBN)- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is “appalled” by reports that a minor was used to carry out Thursday’s suicide attack on an army recruitment centre in Mardan in north-west Pakistan that led to numerous deaths and injuries, his spokesperson said.

According to media reports, a boy wearing a school uniform walked into the compound and blew himself up, killing at least 27 people, including several army recruits, and injuring many more.

“The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s suicide bombing,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “He is appalled by the reported use of a minor to commit this terrorist act.”

Mr. Ban extended his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Pakistan.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict also voiced concern about the reported use of a young person in today’s attack.

“I am deeply distressed by the use of a young boy in a suicide attack today in Pakistan and condemn those who manipulate or kill innocent children to achieve political goals,” Radhika Coomaraswamy said in a statement.

“Today’s crime is an unfortunate reminder of the changing nature of war where civilians are more frequently targets or unwilling participants. I urge all parties to conflict everywhere to protect civilians and keep children out of the fighting.”

BBN/SI/AD-11Feb11-12:34 pm (BST)