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SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS SEIZURE OF POWER BY MILITARY IN GUINEA-BISSAU AHEAD OF 29 APRIL PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, CALLS FOR DETAINEES' RELEASE

By United Nations - Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General
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NEW YORK, April 16, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms the unconstitutional seizure of power by the Armed Forces of Guinea-Bissau on 12 April. This action occurred as the people of Guinea-Bissau were preparing to go to the polls on 29 April to vote for a new President. The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about the reported arrest and detention of key public officials. He calls on the Armed Forces of Guinea-Bissau to immediately and unconditionally release all detainees and ensure the safety and security of the general population, as well as of members of the international community in Guinea-Bissau.

The Secretary-General underscores the need for the Armed Forces and its leadership to respect civilian authority, constitutional order and the rule of law, as well as to take urgent and immediate steps to return the country to civilian rule. He urges the people of Guinea-Bissau to remain calm and to refrain from violence or acts of vandalism during this period. He reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to continue to support the constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau in ensuring sustainable peace and stability in the country.