A police officer stands guyard as vote counting continues A police officer stands guyard as vote counting continues  (AFP or licensors)

Violence erupts as Sierra Leone awaits electoral results

One person is dead in Police in Sierra Leone’s capital as clashes erupt following fiercely fought general elections.

By Linda Bordoni

Violence is overshadowing the tallying of presidential election results in Sierra Leone two days after the vote that pits President Julius Maada Bio against his main contender, opposition leader Samura Kamara.

It's not clear who is leading, but both sides have already said that they won the poll.

On Monday, Kamara, leader of the All People’s Congress (APC), tweeted that live bullets had been fired at his office inside the party headquarters and that one woman had died in the incident.

Photographs were shared from inside the building showing people taking cover on the floor.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Sierra Leone Police said that members of the APC had paraded through Freetown "announcing to the public that they had won" the elections.

They attracted "a huge crowd" of supporters outside the headquarters, who "started harassing passers-by", the force said, forcing police to fire teargas canisters to disperse the crowd.

Saturday ballots

Voting on Saturday in the highly contested presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections was mostly peaceful, but on Sunday, the chief electoral named a number of districts where he said polling staff had been attacked by members of the public.

Election observers are calling for calm. But there are worries that no results have been announced.

The European Union mission urged the electoral commission to provide "full transparency during the tabulation of results" to ease tensions.

The winner of the election must secure 55% of the valid votes cast, otherwise there will be a run-off between the top two candidates two weeks after the announcement of the results.

Path to stability

The West African nation, ravaged by a terrible decade-long conflict that ended in 2002, between the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front supported by special forces (NPFL), and government troops, which left 50,000 dead, is progressing along a difficult, but constant path towards democratization and stability.

After the end of the conflict that brought to light the phenomenon of child soldiers, widely exploited by the opposing forces, Sierra Leone has enjoyed relative peace and can boast progress in various fields. However, the election takes place as it faces many issues including a worsening cost-of-living crisis, poverty and massive unemployment.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

26 June 2023, 12:59