UN chief speaks on Malawi riots, UK add its voice

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday expressed concern over the deadly violence in Malawi, where up to 18 people have reportedly been killed and many others injured during clashes between anti-government demonstrators and security forces this week.

As many as 18 people are thought to have been killed in two days of violent anti-government protests aimed at Malawi’s increasingly autocratic president Bingu wa Mutharika.

UK Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham

A UN statement said that Ban was “saddened by the loss of lives and reiterates his call for all differences to be resolved through peaceful means.”

He also urged both the protesters and government forces to eschew violence.

Britain’s Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham, has also spoken.

“The ongoing violence and reprisals by elements connected to President Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party underline the concern that the UK has expressed about the state of democratic governance and human rights in Malawi,” Bellingham said in a statement.

The statement added: “This situation is extremely worrying and I offer my sincere condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives. I urge all parties to show restraint.”

Britain said “the rights of free assembly and expression guaranteed under the Malawian Constitution must be respected.”

The UK government said it “utterly condemns the threatening behaviour of machete wielding DPP activists and the violent attacks on demonstrators and the media.”

Said the Minister of Africa: “I call on President Mutharika to rein in the security forces and elements of his party, and to allow the media to report freely on the situation in the country. Any attacks or reprisals against demonstrators, opposition  leaders or the media are absolutely unacceptable.”—(Reporting by Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times).

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