Tuesday, March 3, 2009
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the killing of the president of Guinea-Bissau and his chief of staff, calling on the national authorities to maintain the rule of law and bring those responsible to justice.
“The Secretary-General is deeply saddened and dismayed by the assassinations of President João Bernardo Vieira and his Chief of General Staff, General Batista Tagme Na Waie,” Mr. Ban said in a statement released by his spokesperson. The Secretary-General’s statement noted that the assassinations occurred soon after successful legislative elections which “paved the way for enhanced UN support to the country’s peacebuilding efforts.”
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 West African country has struggled to combat 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. This past November, renegade military elements attacked the residence of President Vieira but he survived the attack, which occurred just one week after legislative elections were staged in a peaceful and orderly manner. At that time, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council both condemned the failed assassination attempt and urged all political groups to resolve their differences peacefully.