UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Monday called on the two candidates in the presidential elections of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and their supporters to avoid violence before election results are available.
"The secretary-general is pleased that voters were able to cast their ballots in a generally free and calm environment, although he is concerned at the violent incidents that took place in Equateur province and near Bunia in Ituri district," a statement issued by his spokesman said.
Annan called Sunday's signing by representatives of the two candidates, President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, of a declaration of intent regarding their conduct after the elections "an important step in ensuring that the electoral process is successfully concluded in calm and secure conditions."
"The secretary-general calls on the presidential candidates and their supporters to exercise patience and restraint, and to take all possible steps to prevent any acts of violence while waiting for the results to be announced by the Independent Electoral Commission," the statement said.
Meanwhile, UN peacekeepers and EU forces continued to patrol Kinshasa, the capital and security is being strengthened in other parts of the country, including in the region of Western Kasai where two EU observers were allegedly stoned by President Kabila's supporters, the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) reported.
Throughout the largest and most complex elections the United Nations has ever helped organize, UN agencies helped to deliver tens of millions of ballots and other supplies to the 50,000 polling stations, train 12,000 polling supervisors and plan for the safety of the 25.7 million Congolese registered to vote.