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UN urges peaceful resolution of recent Guinea-Bissau military base attack

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website; press release] on Monday urged all parties in Guinea-Bissau [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to resolve their differences peacefully. The call came amid a recent attack [Aljazeera report] on the country's army base outside of the capital Bissau in which at least six people were killed. Rebel forces attacked the military base on Sunday and the conflict between them and the security forces lasted for two hours. The UN has stated that it will work with the local government and other international entities including African Union, the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) [advocacy websites], the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the European Union (EU) [official websites] to ensure that constitutional order is restored and respected pursuant to the Security Council [official website] Resolution 2048 [text, PDF].

Guinea-Bissau has experienced instability, resulting in several coups, since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974. In May the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] called [JURIST report] that anyone who engaged in violent acts relating to the April 12 coup d'etat should be held accountable for their actions. Two weeks after the coup in April the Security Council called for constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau [JURIST report]. The same month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] demanded immediate restoration [JURIST report] of constitutional order in the country. Pillay hoped to prevent another coup when she urged [JURIST report] the people of Guinea-Bissau in March to refrain from any violence during the upcoming election.

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