News in Brief 23 October 2017 (AM)

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UN and AU underline commitment to Kenya ahead of elections

Political leaders in Kenya and their supporters are being urged to create conditions that will allow for peaceful elections later this week.

The appeal was made by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Kenyans return to the polls on Thursday to elect a new leader.

The vote is a re-run of the presidential election held in August, won by incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta, which was later annulled by the country's Supreme Court.

The UN and AU leaders issued a statement on Sunday stressing their commitment to assisting Kenya in ensuring a "credible and transparent process."

They also urged all political actors, parties and their supporters to refrain from any violence, adding that it is critical for all sides to work towards preserving calm and peace in the country.

Their statement also underlined the need for the security forces to exercise restraint in performing their duties, as well as to respect the "freedom and political liberties of all Kenyans."

UN mission calls for release of DRC opposition members

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are being urged to immediately release opposition activists who were arrested on Sunday.

Around 30 members of a main political party known in English as the Union for Democracy and Social Progress were detained by the security forces while attending a private meeting in the south-eastern city of Lubumbashi.

The UN mission in the country, MONUSCO, issued a statement on Monday condemning their arrest.

Mission chief Maman Sidikou also reminded the Congolese authorities of their obligations to respect the civil and political rights of all citizens.

The UN mission also expressed concern over what it called "ongoing acts of intimidation" against members of the opposition.

For example, last week gunmen fired on the home of one politician, while another received a visit from armed men in uniform.

MONUSCO urged the Congolese authorities "to take the necessary measures to shed further light on these incidents."

Security Council condemns "heinous and cowardly" terrorist attack in Egypt

The UN Security Council has underlined the need to bring to justice those who organize, sponsor and commit acts of terrorism.

This follows the killing of more than 50 policemen in Egypt during a raid on a terrorist hideout in El Wahat desert on Friday.

Council members have issued a statement condemning the attack, which they described as "heinous and cowardly."

The 15 ambassadors reaffirmed that terrorism is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

"Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed," they stated.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’58″

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