By Lincoln G. Peters
At least seven persons are reported to have sustained injuries during violent campaign clashes on Friday, 10 November 2023 between rival Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Unity Party (UP).
UP standard bearer Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai told a press conference Sunday, 12 November 2023 that his running mate Senator Jeremiah Koung, and Senator Prince Y. Johnson narrowly escaped death when their convoy came under a hail of gunfire.
The opposition leader stated that they later learned that a certain Anthony Quiwonkpa, a staff in the office of President George Manneh Weah, was responsible for this deadly attack.
Boakai and Weah will meet in a presidential run-off this Tuesday, 14 November 2023, their second time in such an electoral battle.
Political events leading to this run-off have been largely calm, but the bloody incident reported from Nimba deepens concerns about the fragility of security during a crucial election process being watched by local and international observers.
Boakai told journalists at his Paynesville residence Sunday that Senators Koung and Johnson were leading a scheduled campaign activity in Zor Zualay, Nimba County when their convoy came under a hail of gunfire.
He said the attack left several injured with several vehicles damaged. The former Liberian Vice President said the attack was premeditated and planned to disrupt and prevent Koung from campaigning.
“As a result of this brazen disregard for human lives, about 7 persons were wounded and several vehicles damaged,” said Amb. Boakai.
“Our investigation conducted so far suggests that this callous act of lawlessness was masterminded and orchestrated by President Weah and his operatives hoping that they can instill fear in the People of Nimba and the Liberian Populace,” Amb. Boakai noted.
On behalf of the UP, Amb. Boakai wished all those injured in the attacks a speedy recovery, describing them as true heroes.
He said their sacrifices will not be in vain, calling them true patriots with a cause to defend.
“We condemn this gross violation of our laws and call on the Government of Liberia to act swiftly in bringing the violators to justice,” Boakai urged.
“We call on our international partners to take note of these gross breaches of international laws. We intend to register our position through the appropriate legal channels,” he continued.
Responding to the Unity Party accusations, CDC campaign chairperson and Maritime Commissioner Mr. Eugene Nagbe refuted the allegations.
According to Mr. Nagbe, the violence was allegedly masterminded by Senators Johnson and Koung against CDC’s peaceful supporters.
“We want to make this very clear that Senator Prince Johnson and Jeremiah Koung attacked and wounded our peaceful supporters in Nimba County,” Mr. Nagbe alleged.
“We want the international community to take a careful look at what Senator Johnson and Koung [are] doing to our people in the county. We condemn this, we caution them to desist,” he stated.
Nagbe stated that the action by the Unity Party and Senator Johnson was a scare tactic to instill fear in the minds of the People of Nimba not to vote for a developmental candidate as President Weah.
Nagbe said Senator Johnson is insignificant to the development agenda of Liberia and nothing should stop the people of Nimba County from going in their numbers on 14 November 2023 to vote for a candidate of their choosing.