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GeneralLiberia news

UP campaign turns bloody in Nimba

-Several persons hospitalized

By Thomas Domah/Nimba County

Several supporters of the main opposition Unity Party have been hospitalized at the Ganta United Methodist Hospital after they were reportedly attacked in Zor Zualay Town, along the Sanniquellie – Karnplay highway in Electoral District#3, Nimba County.

There has been no death reported from the apparent electoral violence, as Liberians go to runoff Presidential election on Tuesday, 14 November.

The incident occurred on Friday, November 10th, as supporters of the UP with their Vice Standard Bearer, Senator Jeremiah Kpan Koung, and Senator Prince Johnson, a staunch supporter of the candidacy of Ambassador Joseph Nyumah Boakai, including District#3  Representative-Elect, Nehker E. Gaye, were en route to Karnplay when defeated candidate Anthony Quinwonkpa, also an Ex-general, reportedly ordered group of boys armed to the teeth to attack them.

Several victims of the attack are currently hospitalized in Ganta, but the two Senators narrowly escaped the scene, according to report.

One of the victims, who was attacked and his vehicle destroyed, Nelsco Alco Wolo, narrates that prior to the attack, Anthony Quinwonkpa, son of the late General Thomas G. Quinwonkpa, texted Senator Prince Johnson, threatening him along with the UP Vice Standard Bearer Jeremiah Koung, not to enter  Zor town to campaign.

According to Wolo, they ignored the text message containing alleged threats from Anthony Quinwonkpa and headed for Karnplay when they encountered huge armed men, who attacked them in Zor Zualay Town.

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Wolo, a former staff of the National Security Agency (NSA) continues that when they entered the town, young men, including the District#3 defeated representative candidate Anthony Quinwonkpa, moved on them with short and long-range single-barrel guns and sticks, which according to him, were discharged, wounding several persons.

He accused Anthony Quinwonkpa of full involvement in the attack after he had openly warned them not to enter the town to campaign for the UP.

“I sent you guys text message and warned you not to enter Zor Clan to run campaign but your forced yourselves to come; blood will waste here before you guys can leave from this town; that was the word from Anthony Quiwonkpa to Senator Jeremiah Koung and Senator Prince Johnson”, Wolo quotes Quiwonkpa to have said.

About 12 persons, believed to be UP supporters, who traveled with Senators Jeremiah Koung and Prince Johnson have reportedly been hospitalized following the attacks.

The victims include Arthur Yeanmie Junior, 21; who was wounded on his back and head; Marcus Nuah, 18; Konah Nuah, Crystal Mehn,  a 35-year-old daughter of Senator Prince Johnson and Bobby Biahn, 38; who was hit with sticks.

Others are Festus Luogon, 32; wounded on his hand, Deather Wesseh, 21; Mohammed Kamara, 30; Josephus K. Cooper, 32; Josephus Johnson, 33; and Bill William, 26; among others.

Report says the attackers allegedly used sticks, live bullets, and other weapons to carry out the attacks against the UP officials, who had gone to both campaigns and to thank Nimbaians for reelecting Senator Johnson for another nine years in the Liberian Senate.

Several vehicles belonging to the Unity Party were destroyed during the attack that has left dozens hospitalized.

When contracted via text messages and calls, Mr. Anthony Quiwonkpa declined to respond.

Friday, November 10th incident brings to ten, the number of electoral violence instances that have occurred in all 19 administrative districts of Nimba.

Police in the county have arrested five suspects in connection with the incident.

They are Lawrence Saye, 42; Larry T. Beah, Solomon Gonkaker, 32; Aaron Dennis, 26; and Prince Yarkay. They are currently in Police cell in Sanniquellie undergoing investigation. 

Meanwhile, 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.- Editing by Jonathan Browne

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