Pandemonium broke out around 4 p.m. yesterday in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, when partisans of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) and the Liberty Party (LP) reportedly clashed, while the two sides were simultaneously conducting their respective political rallies.
The situation, according to eyewitnesses, became so tense that partisans from the opposing sides resulted to stone throwing; thereby wounding several people. Police officers later arrested a number of the protestors, while the wounded were taken to the G. W. Harley Hospital on the outskirts of Sanniquellie for treatment.
One eyewitness told the Daily Observer that the CDCians were en-route to the old mining town of Yekepa, north of Sanniquellie, when supporters of the Liberty Party reportedly blocked the main entrance around the vicinity of the Circuit Court, demanding that the CDCians use a detour, “because authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) disallow two parties campaigning in a given locality at the same time.”
But the CDCians, who were traveling with their standard bearer, Senator George Weah, did not waste any time, but allegedly forced their way through the Liberty Party line, thereby intensifying the clash.
“This afternoon, partisans of the Liberty Party blocked the road demanding that the CDCians will not pass through, because NEC said two parties cannot campaign in the same area at the same time. But the CDC people forced their way, a situation which erupted into a free-for-all fighting among partisans of the two parties,” said one Peterson Mansua, a resident of Sanniquellie.
One Aaron, also a resident of the city, told this newspaper that the Liberty Party was scheduled to launch its campaign at about 4 p.m. in Sanniquellie. But while in the process, the CDCians arrived from Ganta, the county’s commercial hub, forcing their way into the LP gathering.
He said upon the arrival of the CDC, people in T-shirts with inscriptions bearing the LP logo began taking off their shirts in place of the CDC T-shirts.
It was based on that behavior that supporters of the Liberty Party reportedly blocked the main entrance to the center of Sanniquellie using two LP pickups.
“The CDCians did not waste anytime,” eyewitnesses said, and allegedly forced their way through the LP gathering, which reportedly exacerbated the situation to the extent that fighting ensued.
When police calmed the situation, Sen. Weah made a brief stop at the St. Mary Football Field north of Sanniquellie, where he addressed his supporters, before leaving for Yekepa.
Yesterday’s incident brought Sanniquellie to a momentary standstill, when businesses were closed, but the quick intervention of the security forces restored the residents’ lost hope.
Nimba County Police Commander Augustine Warri has confirmed the incident, but said it has been brought under control with the arrest of few individuals who may help police with the investigation.
The Liberty Party has in recent times been holding a series of rallies across the county.