News24

UN calls for calm after G-Bissau vote

2012-03-20 08:48

New York – The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on Guinea-Bissau residents to remain calm after a presidential vote rocked by the assassination of a former military intelligence chief.

Ban "commends" Guinea-Bissau voters "for the peaceful and orderly conduct of the presidential election held on 18 March", the secretary general's spokesperson Martin Nesirky said in a statement.

The UN chief also reiterated an appeal "to the candidates and their supporters to abide by the laws, and calls on them to refrain from any action that could hamper the electoral process and to respect the official results when announced by the Supreme Court".

Election observers from the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) said the Sunday election was acceptably free, fair and transparent.

The vote in the chronically unstable west African country was marred however by the murder of Colonel Samba Diallo, the ex-army intelligence chief, who was reportedly shot dead by men in military uniform.

Ban "condemns" Diallo's killing, and "urges national authorities to take necessary measures to bring those responsible to justice".

No clear motive has emerged for the killing, though Diallo was accused of involvement in a 2009 bombing that slayed the country's then army chief and prompted the murder of then president Joao Bernardo Vieira in a revenge attack.

Ban "reaffirms the readiness of the United Nations, in co-operation with the wider international community, to support the consolidation of peace and development in Guinea-Bissau," the statement added.

Guinea-Bissau's election is being held up as a test of the country's commitment to stability - with post-poll army reform seen as vital to normalizing a dysfunctional state sorely in need of development.

Nine candidates were in the contest to replace president Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in January.

Early media results place former prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior, 62, as leading in the vote, followed by former president Kumba Yala, 59. Provisional results should be released by the weekend.