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Monday, April 22, 2024

Liberia: Why Bloody Lofa? UP Panic Over Losing Stronghold to Rival

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Three people have been killed in clashes between supporters of the country’s two main political parties ahead of next week’s elections, according to the United Nations and West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS.

Liberia’s joint security preliminary investigation linked the killings to  mob action of the main opposition Unity Party supporters in Foya, Lofa County during a political rally the party had organized. The report did not say what triggered UP supporters into the fatal incident.

“We have been informed by the police detachment in Lofa that the Unity Party was receiving some diaspora partisans and they have set the stage for a political rally. However, in their movement thereof, it resulted to mob action of two persons to death,” the National security said in a briefing Saturday.

In a statement, the UN and ECOWASs called on the leaders of the two parties, UP and the Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change “to strongly” urge their supporters to “refrain from provocation and any other acts of violence”.

Guaranteeing fair and peaceful elections is key in the the vote in a country ravaged by back-to-back civil wars between 1989 and 2003 that left more than 250,000 people dead.

Liberia’s main political parties pledged in April 2023 to avoid violence and turn to the courts to resolve electoral conflicts that may arise before and after the polls.

ECOWAS and the UN called on the country’s police to “promptly restore calm” and to “conduct speedy and impartial investigations, make public their findings, and ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted.”

The US embassy also condemned the violence. Both political parties blamed each other for the clashes, which occurred after incumbent President George Weah received an unprecedented support in the region that is the hometown of rival candidate Joseph Boakia and  considered Unity Party Stronghold.

Independent polls the Oracle News Daily has obtained shows main opposition leader Joseph Boakai is losing to incumbent President George Weah in his native Lofa County according to an independent opinion poll the Oracle News Daily has obtained.

Conducted between August 12-17 this year with a sample size of 3,000, about 48.8% or 1,464 respondents said they will vote for the ruling coalition for Democratic Change leader Weah compared to 41.6% or 1,245 people who responded in favored of Boakai and the Unity Party.

The polls shows Weah is enjoying a comfortable lead in electoral districts number 1,2 &3, while Boakai is slightly winning in district 5&6.

More than 2.4 million voters are registered for the October 10 presidential and parliamentary elections.

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