UN: Killings in Guinea-Bissau must be investigated

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Associated Press

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 10 at 12:04 PM

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A senior United Nations official says planned November elections in the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau can't be seen as free and fair unless progress is made on investigations of recent high-profile political killings.

Ivan Simonovic, the U.N.'s assistant secretary-general for human rights, made his remarks in an interview Wednesday during the U.N.'s first ever high-level human rights mission to Guinea-Bissau, which has been trapped in a cycle of instability since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974.

The most recent coup occurred in April 2012, freezing aid from the World Bank and other institutions.

The country has long been a transit point for South American cocaine bound for Europe, and Simonovic said any strategy to combat political violence would need to address the drug trade and related corruption.

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