Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 June 2023:
A woman was shot dead inside the offices of Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party office yesterday, when police surrounded the building, firing teargas and live ammunition.
It is not clear what prompted the firing by the security forces, but according to reports thousands of APC party supporters had gathered on the street outside the party office to welcome their presidential candidate and senior party officials – a day after presidential and general elections were held.
Both the ruling SLPP and the main opposition APC are claiming to have won the elections. The results are likely to be announced on Friday.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Dr Samura warned: “Be rest assured that I and the APC party would not and shall not accept any skewed, manipulated and unverified results.”
But what is strikingly worrying about yesterday’s deadly shooting at the APC party office is that the ruling SLPP party supporters were also at their party office – less than three miles away from the APC party office, where they too were celebrating in a carnival-like atmosphere with loud music, with no heavily armed police or soldier in sight. This has prompted accusations of police bias against the opposition.
On the eve of elections, two days ago, a young man was shot dead by armed officers outside the APC party office where thousands of party supporters had gathered for a protest march against the Electoral Commissioner whom they accused of incompetence and political bias.
The indiscriminate use of live ammunition to disperse opposition political gatherings has become an all-too-familiar problem in Sierra Leone, that has seen over one hundred people killed by the security forces, since President Bio took office in 2018.
Yesterday there was a flurry of Tweets from the opposition APC party presidential candidate – Dr Samura and other party executives alerting the world to the use of live fire by the security forces against their supporters:
Reuters reporter, Cooper Inveen – who was also held up inside the APC party office yesterday by the security forces sent this report: “We found a woman severely wounded and unresponsive in Sierra Leone’s opposition party headquarters on Sunday as police surrounded the building during a news conference one day after the presidential election.”
This was the carnival-like atmosphere yesterday at the ruling SLPP party office, in contrast to the heavily-armed policing that was seen outside the opposition APC party office: