UNITED NATIONS, April 28– The United Nations has welcomed the peaceful conduct of the presidential election in Togo, which took place on Saturday.
“As Togo awaits the final results, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encourages all political leaders and segments of society to continue to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that has prevailed throughout the electoral process,” said a UN statement on Monday.
The statement urged all candidates and their supporters to resolve any disputes that might arise through established legal procedures.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian wing of the United Nations is appealing for $11.6 million dollars to plan a response for the influx of Burundians seeking refuge in neighbouring countries following civil unrest over the weekend.
Unrest erupted across Burundi after the ruling party CNDD-FDD overwhelmingly elected President Pierre Nkurunziza on Saturday as its candidate for the June 26 presidential election.
Nkurunziza, who was elected by the ruling party with 88 per cent of the vote, has been in office for two terms since 2005, and a broad array of actors has warned that an attempt to seek a third term is unconstitutional and contrary to the spirit of the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi that ended a decade of civil war in the country.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that various media outlets reporting that five people had been killed since Sunday.
The UNHCR office in neighbouring Rwanda reported that as of Sunday, 20,408 Burundians had sought refuge in Rwanda over the past two weeks. UNHCR reports that together with the Government of Rwanda, they are working to relocate a total of 16,000 refugees from the two reception centres, Bugesera and Nyanza, to the new Mahama refugee camp by May.
The number of refugees being relocated on a daily basis to the new camp is increasing due to the sharply rising rate of new arrivals (almost 3,000 individuals arriving daily as of April 25, up from an average of 500 daily arrivals between April 16-21), overwhelming the two reception centres. UNHCR, the Government and partners are planning for a continued high rate of influx.
In Uvira, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UNHCR reports that 4,000 Burundians have sought refuge in the DRC, while UNHCR in Tanzania – which has historically hosted hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees – reports only 100 arrivals from Burundi thus far.
The newly re-established Burundi Humanitarian Country Team has endorsed a contingency plan for the upcoming elections, requesting $11.6 million to respond to the needs of up to 50,000 people most likely to be affected within the first eight weeks of violence due to elections.
In a worst case scenario, 350,000 people could be in need of humanitarian assistance within six months, added OCHA.
UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said that Said Djinnit, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, is in Bujumbura to convey the organization’s concerns and work with all parties on diffusing tensions.