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Vote in peace, Ban tells Sierra Leone

  |   Nov. 16, 2012 at 9:53 AM
UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said peaceful elections Saturday in Sierra Leone are "critical" for post-civil war recovery.

Presidential, parliamentary, local and mayoral elections are scheduled Saturday in Sierra Leone. Ban, in a statement issued through his spokesman's office, said a legacy of peace that's followed civil war needs to endure during the election.

"Peaceful elections resulting in a credible outcome are critical for consolidating Sierra Leone's hard-won peace and for demonstrating that the tremendous progress the country has made since the end of the hostilities one decade ago is irreversible," his statement read.

At least 50,000 people were killed during the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone that ended in 2001. Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was sentenced by a U.N. special court in May to 50 years in prison for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity committed by rebel forces in the country during the conflict.

Major political parties in May signed a declaration committing to free and peaceful elections.

The U.S. and British governments echoed Ban's sentiments in a joint declaration issued early this week. Candidates, the statement read, are called on to respect democratic processes there and avoid violence in the run up to the Saturday election.

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