Sanniquellie Market Deserted

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– Following CDC, LP clash on Wednesday

Marketers at the Sanniquellie Central Market yesterday deserted the market in protest over the commotion that erupted between supporters of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) and those of the Liberty Party (LP) in Sanniquellie the day before.

The superintendent of the market, Beatrice Lah, told the Daily Observer in Sanniquellie that the incident caused fear and hostility among the marketers, and therefore they decided to stay home for at least a day to observe the situation.

“Wednesday’s fight between supporters of the two parties instilled a lot of fear in the marketers and other residents. So we are afraid, and decided to stay away until the security forces can fully take control of the situation by restoring calm,” she said.

Ms Lah said the incident caused residents to run helter-skelter in fear for their lives. She claimed that while running away, some marketers lost their goods and cash, adding: “So since those involved in the clash are still around, we decided to wait and see how the situation will be contained.”

So far, the market is the only place of business closed in the county capital, as other shops, stores and business centers and school activities continue as normal.

Ms. Lah said right after the clash, Senator George Weah made a brief stop at the market and assured the marketers of his support.

But she said Sen. Weah’s appearance at the marketplace only worsened the situation as his supporters allegedly destroyed some of the market tables when they stood on them to catch a glimpse of him.

Sanniquellie Market

Sanniquellie City Mayor, Mary Nyan Gonlepa, expressed disappointment “in the behavior of the two parties that instigated the clash, especially the CDC supporters,” who she alleged were armed with knives, cutlasses and other weapons.

She said the city authority was aware of the Liberty Party campaign rally on that particular day, adding that “it was surprising that we saw the CDCians entering and shouting their battle cry.”

She confirmed that LP supporters blocked the road to prevent the CDC party from passing, because the Liberty Party said it was their day to campaign in Sanniquellie.

The City Mayor confirmed four persons being wounded in the incident, including an LP driver and one party supporter.

Dr. Collins Bowah, Chief Medical Officer of Nimba County, described the wounded men’s conditions as stable.

Meanwhile, the city mayor has called on authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to be vigilant during the entire electoral process to avoid a repeat of Wednesday’s incident.

When contacted, the Upper Nimba Magistrate of NEC, Princeton Monmiah, denied ever receiving any written communication from the CDC prior to their arrival in the county.

He said early Wednesday, they held a meeting with representatives of both parties, where the CDC was told not to carry out any campaign activity in Sanniquellie because the Liberty Party had already notified the NEC through a written communication about their campaign rally on September 20.

“In the presence of the police, we told the CDCians to go to Zolowee, near Yekepa, with their campaign, but we don’t know what led to the clash,” Monmiah said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. These are the little (considering thankfully that nobody died) incidents that the NEC, government authorities, political parties and other pertinent stakeholders in this election ought to use to set examples on the perpetrators or culprits involved. The various political parties already signed a memorandum of understanding including rules on campaigning in the same locale to avoid/discourage behaviors and incidents of this nature, with agreed upon consequences following an investigation into the incident to establish the facts. The consequence of this incident in terms of financial loses to local marketers, lost taxes/revenue to the county/country, the aura of psychological fear/intimidation instilled in citizens surrounding the election, etc. cannot be overemphasized. Who will want to go out to vote on election day when they are not sure if they will return home alive or in one piece? I dare say the CDC which from all indications violated the established guidelines on campaigning in this election, ought to bear the full weight of the consequence of this recklessness. This is the only way the NEC backed by the established rules governing this election will be respected and taken serious. Better that seriousness of purpose is shown now than waiting until someone is killed next time before attempting to show we mean business.

  2. The two political party are fully responsible for this type of incident and there’s a need for the justice department to hold the two party responsible and pay the price and also refund those who lose their businesses.
    I hope that, the both wouldn’t walk sky free.

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