By: Rancy S. Teewia
The Grand Kru County Detachment of the Liberia National police (LNP) has charged and forwarded to court nine suspects involved in the recent electoral violence in that county.
Police Spokesman Moses Carter told the regular Press Briefing of the Ministry of Information Culture & Tourism on Capitol Hill in Monrovia that the nine have been charged with multiple crimes ranging from theft of property, criminal conspiracy, criminal facilitation, criminal mischief and criminal attempt to commit murder, among others.
Carter told the MICAT press confab Thursday that the supporters of Candidate Nathaniel Barway and followers of his main contender, former Grand Kru County District #2 Representative Numene T. H Bartekwa clashed on December 13, 2029, which resulted to the damage of properties including two vehicles belonging to the Liberia National Police and the election Magistrate. A solar panel at the local office of the National Election commission was also destroyed.
Shortly after the polling on December 8, 2020 in Grand Kru County, angry protesters reportedly besieged the magistrate office of the National Elections Commission in Barclayville, Grand Kru County, calling for unconditional release of actual results from votes counted from the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial election.
According to report, the protest erupted after rumors starting circulating early Sunday, 13 December in the county that the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change was allegedly contemplating to reverse votes in favor of its candidate, incumbent Senator Dr. Peter Coleman.
A credible source in Barclayville claimed members of the opposition, including Independent candidates have joined forces in calling for the unconditional release of the poll results. Video footage from the scene showed just four officers of the Liberia National Police present, while the building hosting the NEC magistrate was surrounded by protesters.
In a telephone conversation with a local newspaper, the political leader of the Liberia National Union (LINU), former Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Nathaniel T. Blama, said there were consultative plans by the CDC to reverse votes in favor of its presumptive winner Nathaniel N. Bahway.
The situation has since been brought under control based on intervention of state security forces.
Similarly, Mr. Carter also briefed journalists on pre-election violence that took place in Grand Cape Mount County.
The LNP spokesman said the Liberia National Police made an intervention in the fracas in that county when the police authorities moved officers to Bamballa Town, Pokpa District, Grand Cape Mount County to talk to all parties involved in the violence.
The tussle between candidates of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Collaborating Political Parties which ensued on December 5, 2020 witnessed the burning of two vehicles and a residence of Representative Bob Sheriff, but a team of police headed by Deputy Police Director Col. Prince Mulbah moved in and quelled the situation, according to Mr. Carter.
“A team of investigators headed by Deputy Inspector General (DIGP) for Crimes Services Division of the Liberia National Police, Col. Prince Mulbah, has departed for Grand Cape Mount County to talk to all parties involved in the pre-elections violence on December 5, 2020, in Bamballa Town, Pokpa District, Grand Cape Mount County,” Mr. Cater stressed.
It can be recalled that prior to the December 8th Mid-term Senatorial and By-elections, supporters of candidate Victor Watson of the CDC and Simeon Boima Taylor of the CPP clashed on December 5, 2020.
The commotion resulted to the burning of two vehicles belong to Mr. Simeon B. Taylor of the Collaborating Political parties (CPP) and the burning of the residence of Representative Bob Sheriff.
“On the evening hours of December 5, 2020, the CPP candidate in Grand Cape Mount County, Mr. Simeon Boima Taylor along with members of the campaign team, including Hon. Bob Sheriff, were viciously attacked by supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in Bambala Town, Porkpa District,” the CPP said in a statement released on Sunday, December 6.
“The CDC thugs set ablaze two vehicles belonging to the CPP campaign team, the home of Hon. Bob Sheriff and damaged other properties of CPP supporters. The unprovoked attack, which was planned by CDC executives in the county, was carried out in the full view of state security,” the CPP stated.
The opposition bloc described the attacks as “unprovoked”, which it condemned “in strongest terms,” and issued a demand to authorities “to bring to justice those responsible for such horrible attack.”
Meanwhile, Opposition Candidate Simeon Taylor has been announced the winner of the Senate race in Grand Cape Mount by the National Election Commission, while defeated CDC candidate Victor Watson has filed a protest to the NEC.