Sierra Leone: Police disperse opponents pending presidential results

The counting of votes continued on Sunday in Sierra Leone, the day after the presidential election. In the evening, police used tear gas canisters to disperse protesters in Freetown after shots were fired at the APC party headquarters.

In Sierra Leone, the presidential election was generally peaceful. The next day, Sunday evening, June 25, the Sierra Leone police announced that they had used tear gas canisters to disperse opponents in Freetown.

The main opponent of outgoing President Julius Maada Bio in this election, opponent Samura Kamara, indicated on Twitter that bullets were aimed at the headquarters of his party in the capital.

Sidie Yahya Tunis, a spokesman for the All People’s Congress (APC), Samura Kamara’s party, told AFP that a woman died in the incident. “She was down in the medical department. She’s a nurse. We have a small outpatient clinic at our headquarters where she worked,” he said Sunday night of the announcement that he did not. It was not possible to check immediately.

Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, also an APC official, posted pictures on Twitter from inside the formation’s headquarters showing people protecting themselves by lying on the ground. “We are at APC headquarters under fire,” she wrote.

I am in the APC party office and we are under fire. It’s tear gas and what sounds like live rounds. There are about 20 of us on the ground in an office. The shots are still being fired. We need help!

Police said members of the APC demonstrated in Freetown “and announced to the public that they had won” the election, in a statement sent Sunday night to AFP. These protesters drew outside the headquarters of the APC “a crowd” of supporters who “began to cause disturbance to passers-by,” she explained in this press release.

“When the situation became unbearable, the police lobbed teargas canisters at them to disperse the crowd, which disturbed people on the public road,” she added.

The count continues

About 3.4 million people were called to choose between thirteen candidates for the presidential election, a revenge-like vote in 2018 between Julius Maada Bio, a 59-year-old retired soldier seeking a second term, and Samura Kamura, 72. -old technocrat and leader of APC.

Julius Maada Bio, candidate of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), won in the second round with 51.8% of the vote.

According to the Electoral Commission, the counting of votes continues. Results are expected within 48 hours of the vote. No attendance figures were advanced Sunday afternoon. During the last election, it had turned between 76 and 87%.To be elected in the first round of elections, a candidate must receive 55% of the valid votes.

In addition to their president, Sierra Leoneans also voted on Saturday to elect their parliament and local councils, polls marred by delays at the start of voting.

Several offices also closed late on Saturday, some at 23:30 (local and GMT), Electoral Commission Chairman Mohamed Konneh said at a press conference on Sunday.

On Sunday night, the EU election observation mission said it was “concerned” by the “current count” and called for “full transparency”. Same story on the site of the Carter Foundation, concerned about “reports indicating a lack of transparency” during the count.

Events during the vote condemned

For the head of the Electoral Commission, Saturday was “one of the best election days” in Sierra Leone’s recent past “if not the best”.

The West African Network for Peacebuilding, another observer group, said on Saturday that the vote was “relatively peaceful”, echoing a similar finding by the electoral commission.

However, the commission said on Saturday that election officials were attacked by unknown persons in some areas. Julius Maada Bio’s party has accused “senior APC officials” of attacking their electoral representatives.

APC officials, in turn, claimed that violence took place in several polling stations on Saturday night in Freetown and its members were attacked in rural areas.A national security official, Abdulai Caulker, said he was unaware of any such incidents.

With AFP

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