Friday, July 19, 2013

Guinea: UN chief appeals for calm amid deadly intercommunal clashes in southern Guinea

UN - 18 July 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for calm and urged Guineans to follow the law amid reports of deadly fighting between ethnic groups.

“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about reports of violent intercommunal clashes in southern Guinea, resulting in heavy loss of life and property,” according to a statement by his spokesperson.

In the statement, Mr. Ban urged national and community leaders to ensure the security of persons and property, to uphold the rule of law and to pursue the path of dialogue with a view to addressing any concerns among the communities.

According to media reports, dozens of people have been killed as a result of the fighting in the country's second-largest city, Nzerekore, and the surrounding forest region near the border with Côte d'Ivoire.

Mr. Ban also urged Guineans “to refrain from all acts likely to undermine peaceful coexistence among communities and human rights,” according to the statement.

He also stressed the importance of maintaining conditions conducive for peaceful and democratic legislative elections to be held as scheduled on 24 September of this year.

In March, protests in the West African nation related to the long-delayed polls led to several deaths and hundreds of injuries. At that time, both Mr. Ban and the UN human rights office appealed for calm amid the violence and urged political actors in Guinea to pursue dialogue to create conditions for peaceful elections.