UN envoy to Iraq condemns violent, riots in Basra

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BAGHDAD, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations special envoy to Iraq Jan Kubis on Saturday condemned violence and riots in Iraq's southern province of Basra, and urged Iraqi authorities to ensure law and order.

He expressed his full support to legitimate demands in peaceful way of the protestors, and calls on the Iraqi government to take all necessary steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises, as well as public and private property.

In a statement by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Kubis condemned "attacks on government, political parties' and media offices, hospitals, oil installation and the airport, the ransacking of the Iranian consulate and public and private property."

The Iraqi Ministry of Health said that 15 people have been killed and 190 others wounded since violent protests against worsening living conditions broke out several days ago.

Kubis also calls on the Iraqi government to take all necessary steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises, as well as public and private property.

He urged the authorities to investigate the events of the riot, in order to identify those behind the violence and bring them to justice, the statement added.

Basra, the province's capital city which bears the same name, has long witnessed complaints among its over 2 million residents about the collapsing infrastructure, power cuts and corruption.

During the past week, hundreds of angry demonstrators burned the Iranian consulate, provincial government buildings, offices of leading political parties and headquarters of some Shiite militias in protest of wide-spread corruption, poor public services, unemployment and water contamination in the province.