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Referendum: isolated incidents, Kofi Annan calls for large turnout

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MISNA - December 17, 2005 3:18 PM

A convoy of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) was attacked yesterday by a group of militias in the Mahagi area, in the north-eastern district of Ituri, a few hours from the constitutional referendum. MISNA learned the news today from Radio Okapi of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). The peacekeepers of the Nepali contingent reportedly reacted promptly. Administrative authorities had repeatedly expressed concerns over security of the vote, in which some 670,000 voters of the area on a total of 25-million throughout the country are called to the polls. Contrary reports instead arrive from another province, Katanga (central-south), indicating the capture of a leader of the Mayi-Mayi militia, which in the past weeks clashed with regular forces, displacing tens of thousands. Also in this case, the violence risks jeopardising the appointment at the polls. In Kinshasa, fears of violence grew yesterday morning over an anti-referendum demonstration, promoted by some political forces demanding a postponement of the vote due to what it claims to be a ?non-credible and rigged? electoral process. Also UN Secretary General Kofi Annan intervened in regard to the importance of tomorrow?s vote. ?For the democratic process to succeed, it is essential that the Congolese people play their full part?, Annan wrote in a statement, adding that the referendum ?marks the beginning of the long-awaited electoral process in the country after years of conflict, turmoil and immeasurable suffering?. ?With the full and sustained support of the United Nations and the international community, significant progress has been made towards restoring peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With almost 25 million voters registered, Congolese citizens have clearly demonstrated their desire for their country to join the ever-growing family of democratic States around the world?, added the top figure of the UN, which since 1999 in present with its largest peacekeeping mission.


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