Collaborating opposition representative candidate for Montserrado County District #15 by – election Ms. Telia Urey is reported to have escaped death on Saturday, 17 August at the hands of her attackers believed to come from ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in the politically tense district.
Telia, The daughter of the four collaborating opposition political parties chairman Mr. Benoni Urey, is the leading candidate in the by – election in which President George Manneh Weah told a campaign rally that under his rule the Ureys will not win election here.
Following Ms. Urey’s complaint of elections irregularities, the National Elections Commission (NEC) ordered a rerun in six polling places in the district, instead of the a rerun of the entire district as earlier requested.She accepted NEC’s decision but the ruling CDC is against the rerun, as it claims to have won the votes.
Ms. Urey is reported to have gone to visit the headquarters of one of the candidates in the district by –election Mr. Kelvin Bayoh when she and her team got attacked during a meeting.During the violence on Saturday, reports say Ms. Urey and her supporters were held hostage for over an hour and that several persons were injured.
Ms. Urey’s vehicle was reported damaged in the attack, as witnesses in the district narrate that the ruling party supporters allegedly spilled gasoline on the building in which Ms. Urey and her supporters were besieged, with claims that the attackers intended setting the building the ablaze.
According to residents, Ms. Urey’s personal bodyguards and supporters rescued her out of the building.
There is a public outcry in the district that the Liberia National Police whose officers have also been victimized by attacks by supporters of the ruling party CDC here appear to be paralyzed in taking proactive measures to stop political violence especially in cases where CDC supporters are linked.
Deputy Police Chief for operations Col. Marvin Sackor was recently flogged at CDC headquarters in Congo Town while he was attempting to dialogue with leaders of the ruling party after its supporters clashed with jubilant opposition supporters for their victory in the Senatorial by – election.
In the wake of what is trending here, the Executive Mansion on Sunday, 18 August indicated that President George Manneh Weah has mandated the Liberian National Police and other security agencies to be proactive and bring to book anyone engaged in violence.
According to a press release issued Sunday, 18 August, the Executive Mansion says Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean and the Liberia National Police have been mandated to carry out a thorough and expeditious investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice, irrespective of who is involved.
The Executive Mansion indicates that electoral violence in all its forms will not be tolerated, and individuals who disrupt the peace will face the full weight of the law.
The attackers from ruling CDC were said to have occupied the one – way entry and exit of a building where Ms. Urey and her team were meeting with Mr. Bayoh and his team before the attackers reportedly moved in and trapped he victims in the building.
The building where the meeting was being held is said to be a premises of the former District #15 Radio Station.
Residents of the area say the conflict ensued minutes after Ms. Urey arrived for a dialogue with Mr. Bayoh and some of his top supporters in apparent effort to work towards the rerun process.
But some CDC supporters reportedly started insulting Ms. Urey as she entered the meeting hall.
According to eyewitnesses, the insults were followed by stone throwing, leaving portion of the roof of the building, windows, iron gate, wall and furniture reportedly damaged during the incident.
Community residents say police responded later and allegedly made some arrests.
In its statement, the Liberia National Police (LNP) says it condemns in the strongest term, violence which broke out on Saturday, 17 August in District #15 between supporters believed to be of the CDC candidate Abu Kamara and supporters believed to be of the Opposition Collaborating Political Parties candidate, Telia Urey.
The police say they view such action as counterproductive to the peace and stability of the state.
“The contingent of Police who firstly responded to the scene was unable to arrest violent actors. When reinforcements arrived, the alleged perpetrators had absconded,” the police say in a statement.
The police say they have launched an investigation into the violence, asking members of the public, especially residents of District #15 to assist with any useful information including videos and pictorials to ensure that those responsible are made to face the full weight of the law.