Police, military ‘kill 4 APC supporters’ as Sierra Leone elections turn violent

The Sierra Leone Police and military personnel have shot dead four young men who were supporters of the opposition party, the All People’s Congress (APC) party in Masiaka town.

The supporters were killed on Monday evening in Masiaka which lies 65km outside Freetown, in the Port Loko District, Northern Province of Sierra Leone.

“In the first video, a man is describing how live rounds are being used by the police, who are shooting at people.

“The boy in the video – who looks to be around early 20’s in age, seems to have had his life spared, but had been brutally raped and was lying on the roadside, bleeding, when he was found by residents,” a witness said.

“The police and the military are apparently on a killing spree now, targeting all APC supporters they can find and they are most active at night. After 60 per cent of the results have been announced,” another source said.

One person was, according to a Sunday story published by Sahara Reporters, killed while many others were injured as the military unleashed violence on members and supporters of opposition parties in Sierra Leone.

The platform also reported on Saturday that Sierra Leone presidential election had been marred by delays and chaotic scenes among voters in some areas.

Amid a crippling economic crisis that sparked deadly riots last year, incumbent president Julius Maada Bio of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party faced a dozen challengers — 12 men and one woman — though experts predicted a two-horse race between the president and his main rival, Samura Kamara, the head of the APC, DW reports.

Meanwhile, sources reportedly said on Sunday that the military killed one person and wounded several others during Saturday’s election.

Sahara Reporters claimed to have obtained a video of a man who had been shot and fighting for his life and a picture of the man who had reportedly been shot dead. It also claimed to have also obtained videos of members of the main opposition party, APC, and international journalists huddled together in rooms as the military fired gunshots outside.

In one of the videos, President Bio’s main rival and head of the APC party, Samura Kamara, is seen lying on the floor, hiding alongside other party members in the room.

“Around 15 minutes ago, the APC opposition party was holding a meeting at their headquarters in Freetown, Sierra Leone when the military started firing from outside into the building,” a source said.

“These people in the video are opposition party supporters. They are all hiding in a small room. Two of them are international journalists there for election coverage.

“They were addressing a press conference when the military started shooting live bullets in the place so they had to lie down. The APC presidential candidate is the one in white and black lying on the floor in one of the videos.”

“One was killed and the military injured many others during an attack on opposition party members in Sierra Leone on election day,” another source noted.

A poll last week by the Institute for Governance Reform (IGR), a partner of the pan-African survey group Afrobarometer, forecast that Bio, from the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), would win 56% of the vote, with 43% for Kamara.

Another poll, by the Sierra Eye magazine and two local research groups, forecast 38% for the incumbent and 25% for his main challenger.

The winner must secure 55% of the vote to avoid a runoff. If a second round is called, it will be the second time that the pair had faced off in a runoff, after a similar battle in 2018.

In Sierra Leone, many people vote based on regional allegiances, with those in the south and east usually picking the ruling SLPP while most people from the north and west normally vote for the opposition APC.

During Saturday’s poll, voters also elected members of parliament and local councils.

Polling stations opened much later than the scheduled time of 7:00 am in the capital Freetown, AFP journalists said on Saturday.

Bio and Kamara reported small-scale attacks on their supporters ahead of polling day, with both candidates urging calm.

A group of foreign ambassadors on Wednesday issued a joint statement calling for peace.

There are concerns the tensions could worsen, particularly if no candidate secures a clear majority.

Sahara Reporters

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