United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the reported killings of more than 50 people at protests outside a military command post in Egypt on Monday.
“The Secretary-General condemns these killings and calls for them to be thoroughly investigated by independent and competent national bodies, and those responsible need to be brought to justice,” Ban’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
The UN chief urged all sides of the current political crisis in Egypt “to do everything possible to avoid further escalation” and “to act with maximum restraint.”
At least 51 people have been reported killed and 435 injured in violent clashes that ignited Sunday night outside the elite Republican Guards’ headquarters where deposed President Mohammed Morsi is believed to be held.
Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, has accused the army of unleashing gunfire on innocent activists while the military has blamed “armed terrorists” for an attempt to storm the building.
Amid the mounting violence in Egypt, interim president Adly Mansour issued a 33-article decree on Monday setting a timetable for a referendum on an amended constitution and parliamentary elections by the end of January.
The Egyptian army ousted Morsi, who narrowly won the country’s first free presidential election last June with 51.7 percent of the vote, following mass nationwide protests against the rule of the Islamist president.
The takeover has been described as a “military coup” by the Muslim Brotherhood and the international media.
Speaking in Kazakhstan on Sunday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin warned that Egypt could be heading for civil war.