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Burundi: UN Chief condemns failed Coup, calls for calm and restraint


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(By Bonny Apunyu)

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday condemned Burundi’s failed coup plot and appealed to Burundi’s political and security leaders to “clearly and openly reject the use of violence, refrain from acts of revenge, and rein in their militants,” UN News Centre reported.

According to a statement ssued Thursday by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson in New York, “The Secretary-General is gravely concerned by developments in Burundi since the announcement of the electoral candidacy of President [Pierre] Nkurunziza, and especially in the aftermath of the 13 May declaration of a coup d'état.”

UN News Centre reported that a Flash Update ssued yesterday(Wednesday) by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that a coup d'état had reportedly taken place in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, after President Nkurunziza left for the Summit of the East African Community, which was intended to try to resolve the crisis.

Violence in Burundi erupted after the country's ruling National Council for the Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party nominated on 26 April Mr. Nkurunziza as its presidential candidate for a third term. The ensuring violence has sent thousands of people fleeing to neighbouring countries, according to the UN.

In his statement, the Secretary-General condemned “attempts to oust elected governments by military force,” and he appealed for strict respect of Burundi's Constitution as well as the UN-backed Arusha Agreement.

“The Secretary-General now urgently calls for calm and restraint,” the statement continued, underscoring Mr. Ban’s urgent call on all political and security leaders to clearly and openly reject the use of violence, refrain from acts of revenge, and rein in their militants.

Mr. Ban also reportedly stressed that anyone responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations will be held accountable. “In this regard, he has full confidence that the Security Council will consider the various tools at its disposal in examining the situation in Burundi, including regarding accountability,” the statement added.

“The United Nations reminds the Burundian authorities of their obligation to ensure the protection of all Burundian citizens, as well as United Nations personnel and premises,” it said, noting that the Secretary-General commends the East African Community (EAC) for its leadership.

According to the statement, Mr. Ban is in close contact with leaders in the region, and through his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Said Djinnit, the UN will continue to work closely with the EAC, the African Union and other partners in joint efforts to help resolve the crisis in Burundi.

“He also urges Burundians to create the conditions for the holding of inclusive, violence free and credible elections, as soon as possible,” the statement concludes.

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