Liberia: Violent Political Clash in Lofa County Reportedly Leaves Two Dead

On the left, a motorcyclist with a CDC campaign sticker was reportedly mobbed until he lost consciousness and tragically passed away at the scene. On the right, an older man was allegedly assaulted by CDC supporters after being identified as a member of the Unity Party.




.... As calls are being made for Former Vice President Joseph Boakai, representing the Unity Party, and President George Weah, leader of the Coalition for Democratic Change, to condemn the violence and urgently rein in their supporters.

A violent clash between supporters of the opposition Unity Party and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has reportedly left at least two people dead in Foya, Lofa County.

Both parties' supporters have however accused each other of instigating the violence. Videos circulating on social media depict scenes of chaos, with rival groups engaged in altercations and hurling objects at each other, sending shockwaves through the community and raising concerns about political tensions ahead of the October 10 polls.

Local law enforcement swiftly intervened to restore order, but the damage had already been done, with two people reportedly dead and a few others injured. Police in Foyah, however, have not identified those responsible for the violence, and no arrests have been made yet.

Both parties have issued statements condemning the violence, but statements from Mo Ali, the Campaign spokesperson of the Unity Party, to FrontpageAfrica, lay the blame on the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change. Rep. Thomas Fallah, a stalwart of the ruling party, has denied these allegations and instead blamed the supporters of his political opponents.

Calls have been made for Former Vice President Joseph Boakai, representing the Unity Party, and President George Weah, leader of the Coalition for Democratic Change, to condemn the violence and urgently rein in their supporters.

The timing of this latest violence is unsettling, as it occurred only days after the U.S. Department of State issued stern warnings of visa restrictions for individuals found undermining the integrity of the upcoming October polls. The international community had expressed hope that these measures would deter any further political violence, but the events in Foya serve as a stark reminder of the challenges Liberia faces in ensuring a peaceful electoral process.

The September 29 incident comes just under two months after a similar outbreak of violence between these two rival political factions in the capital, Monrovia, which resulted in numerous injuries and widespread condemnation from both the international community in Liberia and concerned citizens.

The August clashes prompted condemnation from the international community, warning that it posed a threat to the country's peace. Journalist Garmah Lomo, who is in Foya, told Frontpage Africa that she witnessed supporters of the Unity Party engaging in stone-throwing near Fallah's compound while chanting derogatory slogans. She also mentioned the destruction of streetlights and a brutal attack on a motorcyclist who had a CDC campaign sticker on his bike, tragically resulting in his death.

In retaliation, Lomo said, supporters of the ruling party set up a roadblock and threatened to harm any Unity Party member who crossed it. This escalated further when an older individual believed to be a Unity Party member was assaulted. Lomo stated that the local police claimed they were ill-equipped to handle such riots.

The Daily Observer has yet to independently verify Lomo's claims. Ali, the Unity Party campaign spokesman, who is currently in Monrovia, told Frontpage Africa that the party had gathered at a major intersection near Fallah's compound to welcome members from nearby towns for a significant party event in Foya and never expected interference from the ruling party. Ali noted that while Unity Party supporters were at the intersection, some members of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, who were in Fallah's compound, began throwing stones at Unity Party supporters, who responded in kind.

"In the process, while they were exchanging the throwing of stones, one of our supporters was taken by the Thomas Fallah people and was dragged into his headquarters' fence. We don't know the status of that person," he said.

Fallah has, however, denied Ali's allegations and pinned the violence on supporters of the Unity Party.