Ban Ki-moon urges calm in Burundi vote

Burundi - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday pressed Burundian authorities to pull out all the stops to see that elections are carried out peacefully.

Ban "calls on the authorities to do all in their power to ensure security and a peaceful atmosphere during the election," a statement from his spokesperson said.

"He further calls on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence that could compromise the stability of Burundi and the region," it added.

Noting that there has been a pause in the inter-Burundian dialogue, Ban said this "took place without agreement being reached on a range of issues that would have contributed to the creation of a climate conducive to the holding of credible and peaceful elections, as contained in the relevant recommendations of the EAC and the African Union."

Burundi goes to the polls on Tuesday with President Pierre Nkurunziza widely expected to win a third consecutive term despite international condemnation and thousands of people fleeing feared violence.

Opposition and civil society groups have denounced his candidacy as unconstitutional and a violation of the 2006 peace deal that ended a dozen years of civil war and ethnic massacres in 2006.

Hours before the polls were due to open, explosions and gunfire rang out late on Monday in the capital Bujumbura, the epicentre of three months of anti-government protests.

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