Police teargas S/Leone opposition after voting

Police teargas S/Leone opposition after voting

The Police in Sierra Leone fired tear gas at the main opposition party’s headquarters in the capital Freetown as voters await the results of a fiercely fought general election.

The opposition’s presidential candidate, Samura Kamara, of All People’s Congress (APC), said on Twitter that the Police fired live bullets at his office inside the party headquarters on Sunday.

Reuters also reported that one woman sustained severe wounds and was without a pulse at the opposition party headquarters.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, a prominent APC member tweeted photos from inside the building showing people taking cover on the floor.

Aki-Sawyerr was bidding for a second term as Freetown mayor. “I am in the APC Party office and we are under fire,” she wrote.

The Police said in a statement, APC members paraded through Freetown, “announcing publicly that they had won the election.

They attracted “a huge crowd” of supporters outside the headquarters, who “started harassing passers-by”, the force said.

“When the situation became unbearable, the Police had to fire tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd.

The crowd was harassing people on the road,” it added.

Vote tallying got underway across the country earlier on Sunday, but results have not yet been announced.

Voting during Saturday’s presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections was mostly peaceful.

Read Related News:

But on Sunday, Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed Konneh, outlined a number of districts where members of the public attacked polling staff.

Also on Sunday, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) of President Julius Maada Bio alleged in a statement that “top-ranking members” of the APC had attacked its polling agents.

On Saturday evening, senior members of the opposition party told reporters that violence had taken place near several polling centres in Freetown.

The Police said they arrested 66 people on Wednesday across Freetown.

The APC also alleged that hoodlums attacked its supporters while campaigning in rural parts of the country.

“The exchanges between the opposition and election officials are making many people in Sierra Leone nervous,” Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris said, reporting from Freetown.

“And the owners of shops and other businesses are watching for any sign of trouble.”

Many polling stations opened and closed late in Freetown on Saturday, with voting officially ending at 11.30 p.m. (23.30 GMT), according to Konneh.

Twelve men and one woman were running for president, but incumbent Bio’s main challenger is Kamara of the APC. Bio narrowly beat Kamara in a run-off in 2018.

Presidential candidates must secure 55 per cent of valid votes for a first-round win. (Al-Jazeera)


Do you have a flair for Citizenship Journalism? Share story(ies) of happenings in your area with The NewsZenith on WhatsApp: 08033668669 or thenewszenith@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *