Liberia: 14 Reportedly Wounded in Post-election Violence between Ruling CDC and Opposition Political Parties
Monrovia – Just as the National Elections Commission (NEC) was set on Wednesday, July 31, to begin announcing preliminary results of the Montserrado County by-election, supporters of the two leading candidates in the race, began a violent clash resulting in the news of 14 persons on both sides being wounded, some seriously.
At the moment, the frontrunner, Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon, is running on the ticket of the opposition Liberty Party, which is in collaboration with other opposition parties, including Alternative National Congress, All Liberian Party and Unity Party.
Dillon, who leads the race with 53,270 votes (53.88%) is being followed in a distant second by the ruling party’s candidate, Ms. Paulita C. C. Wie with 36,531 (36.95%). However, the Elections Commission has so far announced at least 51.62% of the total polling places in the county. As more results come in from the remaining polling places, the numbers are going to shift and maybe positions, too.
Few minutes before Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya, Chairman, NEC, began to make the official announcement, the violence erupted between the supporters of CDC and the four collaborating political parties’ partisans, who gathered in the compound of the headquarters of the Liberty Party to begin early celebrations ahead of the pronouncement.
The Chairman of the four collaborating political parties, Mr. Benoni W. Urey, told FrontPageAfrica that during the melee, at least 11 persons got wounded. Urey claimed that police fired live bullets which allegedly resulted into one person being shot in the leg by the riot police officers, who tried to restore calm between the rioters.
Chairman Urey also accused partisans of the CDC for instigating the violence. Stones and other missiles flew from both ends of the divide as people delved for cover.
“We were here at our party headquarters jubilating and merry making when some thugs of the CDC came and started throwing stones and fighting our partisans, when the violence broke out, the riot police came and fired live bullets and some of our people got wounded, 11 of them while one of our partisans got shot in the leg,” he explained.
But the spokesman of the Liberia National Police, Mr. Moses Carter rubbished the claims by Urey that shooting occurred during the clashes between partisans of the CDC and the opposition collaborating parties.
Carter explained in a mobile phone interview that as per their protocol, no police officer bearing firearm is allowed to be in such protest zone. However, it seems he forgot to know that there were armed police officers in Kingville recently and there were also armed police officers at the June 7 #SavetheState protest.
“Like we did on June 7, none of our police officers did carry arm at the Liberty Party headquarters; I want to make that clear,” he explained.
Carter challenged Urey and the opposition to produce the medical reports of the wounded persons they claim got shot by the Liberia National Police (LNP).
“That is a lie. Let them tell you which hospital those people are being treated in and let them show you the medical reports of those persons they say got shot. No gun was ever fired there today,” he defended, emphatically.
He disclosed, however, that the police did fire teargas to disperse the rioters and did not use gun. He added: “You know teargas is non-lethal and it can be used during rioting.”
While Mr. Urey is pointing fingers at the ruling party of instigating violence and accusing the police of shooting live bullets at his partisans, the Chairman of the ruling party, Mr. Mulbah Morlu, on the other hand, is accusing Urey of sending men in the compound of the CDC to steer up violence.
“What Mr. Urey is revealing to you is that he sent men to our party headquarters to unleash mayhem on our partisans. I can show you prove of our partisans being victimized. One of our partisans hand got broken during the violence.”
He further alleged that at least two other persons got wounded. “They will be at the party headquarters tomorrow; our partisans got wounded during the violence.”
Morlu rejected the allegations from the opposition that CDCians started the violence at the Liberty Party’s headquarters.
“Well, in the first place, we want to categorically reject that insinuation coming from Urey, CDCians are very law abiding and peaceful. We have been victimized many times by provocation from the opposition especially from Urey, who is noted for instigating violence in our country.”
Morlu claimed three wounded persons, while Urey claimed 11.
Meanwhile, police spokesman Moses Carter confirmed that there were some wounded people that were taken to JFK during the riot, but couldn’t say which party they belong to even though he was asked. He also refused to say how seriously their injuries are.