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Ban Deplores Attack on President of Guinea-Bissau

Secretary-General Deplores Armed Attack On Guinea-Bissau President's Residence

New York, Nov 23 2008 10:10PM

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned this morning's attack on the residence of the Guinea-Bissau President by elements of the armed forces, just one week after legislative elections were held in the troubled West African country.

Media reports say President Bernardo João Vieira survived the attack, which occurred early this morning in the capital, Bissau, and involved machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson today, Mr. Ban called on the armed forces -- dissident elements of which are reported to have carried out the attack -- to refrain any other measures that could further destabilize the poor nation.

"This violent action, which comes so soon after the people of Guinea-Bissau, in legislative elections on 16 November, had massively manifested their desire for peaceful democratic governance, could have a devastating impact on the country's fragile stability," the statement noted.

"The Secretary-General calls on the authorities to re-establish law and order and to conduct a thorough investigation with a view to ensuring respect for the rule of law and human rights."

Mr. Ban said his Representative in Guinea-Bissau, Shola Omoregie, is working closely with national authorities, regional leaders and other partners to help stabilize the country, while the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (known as UNOGBIS) is also providing assistance.

Guinea-Bissau is one of a handful of States on the agenda of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, which aims to help poor countries avoid sliding back into war or chaos.

The country has struggled to combat recent growth in drug trafficking and organized crime, and also to sustain economic growth and political stability amid a series of civil conflicts, coups d'état and uprisings in recent decades.

Last week the Security Council had welcome the orderly and

peaceful manner in which the legislative elections were held, but in a press statement also called on Guinea-Bissau's major political parties to respect the results.

ENDS

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