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Nepal: Restraint Urged Following Pre-Poll Killings

Nepal: top UN official urges restraint following pre-poll killings

9 April 2008 - The top United Nations official in Nepal has called on all parties to exercise restraint after at least seven people died in two separate incidents on the eve of Constituent Assembly elections in the South Asian nation.

In a statement issued today in Kathmandu, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Nepal, Ian Martin, said he was "deeply shocked" by the deaths.

At least six members of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) were killed and several others injured as a result of firing by security personnel in Dang district. The second incident involved the shooting death of Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) candidate Rishi Prasad Sharma.

"All parties should exercise restraint and avoid provocations of one another, including detention of party workers," said Mr. Martin.

Voicing his deep concern about the violence ahead of Thursday's polls, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all parties "to remain calm while cooperating to allow this election to take place in a peaceful atmosphere.

"The Nepalese have worked hard to reach this historic moment and deserve a credible ballot to cement democracy in Nepal," he said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.

A team from the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is already on the scene investigating the events in Dang, while another is travelling to the site of Mr. Sharma's killing. The Mission is coordinating its probe with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and with the newly-formed Peace and Conflict Management Committee.

Once elected, Assembly members are tasked with drafting a new constitution in Nepal, which has emerged from a decade-long civil war that claimed an estimated 13,000 lives until the Governments and the Maoists signed a peace accord in 2006.

ENDS

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