The top United Nations official in Iraq today strongly condemned a suicide attack on an open-air election rally in the Iraqi city of Baquba, which killed and injured dozens of people.
“Candidates must be able to campaign without fear of intimidation, threats or violence, and citizens must be able to freely participate in electoral campaigns, without fear of being targets of deadly attacks,” said the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Martin Kobler.
According to media reports, the suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded 60 in a crowded election campaign tent on Saturday afternoon.
“The security forces are responsible for protecting candidates and their supporters, just like they are responsible for protecting all Iraqis,” Mr. Kobler said.
Violence in recent weeks has reportedly killed at least 10 candidates who had planned to run in the local elections, which will be held across the country on 20 April. However, the Iraqi cabinet decided to postpone the polls in Anbar and Ninewa, for a maximum period of six months, due to security concerns.