U.N. Chief Appeals for Secure Burundi Elections

by Naharnet Newsdesk

On the eve of highly-charged elections, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday urged the government of Burundi to ensure that voting takes place in a secure environment.

After months of turmoil, Ban had on Friday urged Burundi to delay the vote after the opposition announced a boycott, but the government rejected his appeal.

The U.N. chief said in a statement that he was “concerned about the government of Burundi’s insistence on going ahead with elections on 29 June despite the prevailing political and security environment.”

He “emphasizes the responsibility of the government of Burundi to ensure that elections take place in a secure environment” and to ensure the safety of U.N. observers.

Parliamentary and local elections set to be held on Monday will be followed by a presidential vote on July 15.

Ban appealed to all sides to refrain from violence after three people were killed overnight Saturday, adding to the more than 70 killed in weeks of violence.

Burundi was plunged into turmoil in late April when President Pierre Nkurunziza launched his drive for a third consecutive five-year term, triggering widespread protests.

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