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GeneralLiberia news

CDC and UP supporters clash

In early campaign violence

By Lincoln G. Peters

Supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and opposition Unity Party (UP) were involved in violent campaign clashes Thursday, August 10, leaving four persons severely wounded as police fired tear gas canisters.

The violent clashes began as opposition leader Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai was en route to his campaign headquarters on the Airfield in Sinkor, to name a new batch of members to his 2023 campaign team.

However, CDC’s Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee Manager, Mr. Eugene Nagbe in a conversation with this paper via WhatsApp denied the UP claim, saying it was rather the UP partisans that provoke the violent clashes.

Mr. Nagbe said it all started with UP partisans attacking a CDC supporter who was ridding on a bike and also denied that Boakai’s convoy was attack , because according him the former Vice President was nowhere near the place of the incident.

Meanwhile, as a result of the clashes the former vice president had to cancel his activities as planned at his party’s campaign headquarter.

Some local online media platforms reported the incident live Thursday evening. Mr. Boakai was headed to the UP’s Airfield office to name a new batch of his party’s campaign team when CDC supporters allegedly obstructed the former vice president’s escort.

In the process, CDC supporters allegedly attacked several UP supporters who were heading to their ‘Rescue Mission” campaign headquarters in the Old Immigration building in Montserrado County Electoral District #9.

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The CDC supporters who staged the attack were said to have gathered at the Varmoma House on the main Tubman Boulevard to welcome President George Manneh Weah and his entourage in Montserrado Electoral District #9.

The bloody campaign violence comes less than a week after partisans of the ruling CDC paraded the principal streets of Monrovia with a casket decorated with photos of Amb. Boakai and marched to CDC headquarters.

Boakai remains incumbent President Weah’s main rival in the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.

Both men battled in the 2017 presidential run-off, and Boakai is back this time, possibly for his last try for the Liberian presidency in a crucial ballot which is due in just two months.

There was a stone battle at the UP ‘Rescue Mission’ campaign office. Police fired tear gas canisters during the incident at the UP campaign office.

The UP supporters were allegedly entrapped by CDC supporters who had reportedly prevented Amb. Boakai from reaching the party’s campaign headquarters.

Amb. Boakai was held in a huge traffic at the Ministerial Complex terrain, where the CDC had gathered with its campaign activities.

Boakai was compelled to use the long route from Congo Town through the Japan Freeway before returning to central Monrovia to make his way to his campaign office in Sinkor.

The situation prompted one of the rescue supporters, Daniel Sandoe to announce the cancellation of the program which was geared at naming the party’s final campaign team.

One of those wounded, 28-years old Darius B. Rode, said he was on a motorcycle heading to the Unity Party Campaign Headquarters, when a group of individuals wearing the CDC T-shirts and berets held him hostage and began to brutalize him.

He indicated that the group members chopped off his right ear before some other supporters of the UP went to rescue him.

Rode said the motorcyclist who was conveying him to the party office was also brutalized and left helpless, while all their belongings were taken away.

The four wounded individuals were later rushed to a nearby medical center by some supporters of the UP who had gathered at the campaign headquarters.

Angered by the events, UP partisans also blocked the entrance to their party headquarters in Airfield community and allegedly attacked CDCians and state officers who had gone there to calm down the situation. 

Folks wearing CDC shirts and other party materials were attacked in an intensive stone battle.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with this paper at the scene, Mr. Rufus Paul, UP Assistant Secretary for Press and Public Affairs, blamed the CDC for the situation.

According to him, the CDC prevented the UP-standard bearer’s escort along with other partisans from going to their program and brutalized them.

” Our standard bearer was prevented from coming at the program by the CDC supporters at Varmoma. They brutalized and wounded our partisans,” he said.

“You have been here and you see everything. Our partisans are responding because when you push people to the walls and they can’t enter, they have to defend themselves, ” he argued.

Mr. Paul however called on the international community and the National Elections Commission (NEC) to take action and call the CDC to book. He said the CDC wants a conflict.  

In the same vein, Mr. Daniel Sandoe has told a team of journalists that the action of the CDC against the Rescue Team campaign activities is a recipe for chaos.

Sandoe said the CDC action was a contravention of the Farmington River Declaration signed by Presidential Candidates.

Weah-Taylor campaign team dismisses UP claims

The Weah-Taylor 2023 National Campaign Committee has dismissed claims by the Unity Party (UP) that partisans of the CDC disrupted its (UP) activities in Sinkor on Thursday, August 10.

In a statement issued late Thursday the Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee clarified that the CDC’s ongoing district engagements of its standard bearer and Vice standard bearer, which were continuing on Thursday in Districts 9 and 10 of Montserrado County had been pre-announced a week before on various national media platforms. It said the CDC also communicated its key campaign dates to the National Elections Commission.

The Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Team in its statement signed Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala, National Campaign Spokesman explained that despite these prior announcements, and recognizing that the Unity Party was seeking to provoke violence by deliberately ignoring the CDC’s prevailing Campaign Schedule and going ahead to plan their own event on the same day, decided to postpone the prescheduled start of activities in District 9 for more than four hours to avoid any conflicts with UP Partisans who had announced a Press Conference for 10Am on Thursday.

The CDC noted that as a result of the actions of the Unity Party, partisans of the Coalition for Democratic Change were brutalized by Unity Partisans during the activities today.

The Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee stated that it has called the attention of the National Elections Commission, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, the office of the ECOWAS representative and other well meaning international partners to Thursday violent which it say was allegedly triggered by UP in flagrant provocation and urged their timely intervention to avert future recurrence.

“The Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee reassures its many partisans, well-wishers and ordinary Liberians that it will always remain peaceful and that it is committed to upholding the law and the tenets of the Farmington Declaration,” the party campaign team added.

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