The election was peaceful but victory celebrations sunk into a deadly tragedy on Monday night when hundreds of Unity Party supporters gathered to celebrate opposition leader Joseph Boakai’s win.
At least three people have died and 28 others are in hospital in Liberia’s capital after a vehicle rammed into supporters of President-elect Joseph Boakai, a medical officer has said.
The police described the incident as an “accident”, but Mr. Boakai’s party called it an “act of terrorism”.
It came just hours after Liberia’s electoral body declared him the winner of last week’s presidential election.
In his concession speech, President George Weah had called for unity.
The election was closely fought, with just over 20,000 votes separating the two candidates in the run-off poll.
Mr. Boakai visited the injured at the main hospital in Monrovia, and promised a full-scale investigation into the incident. Police said the driver of the vehicle has been arrested.
The driver reportedly abandoned the vehicle before fleeing. Angry onlookers set the vehicle on fire.
The vehicle involved in the incident was burnt by an angry crowd
In a statement, the police called what happened “an accident incident” and urged UP supporters to “remain calm” while investigations were under way.
Dr. Sia Camanor, the chief medical officer at Monrovia’s John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, said that three people had died of their injuries.
The number being treated at the hospital had risen to 28 after survivors were brought from other medical facilities. Some are in a critical condition, she added.
Dr Camanor appealed to the public to come forward to donate blood, as some of the victims had lost a lot of it.
In an earlier statement, the UP called what happened a “devastating, wicked and barbaric act of domestic terrorism, leading to loss of precious lives”.
The incident followed an election that was deemed largely peaceful, save for some isolated violence in four provinces. The UP said it was cancelling all celebratory gatherings until further notice.
- With BBC file