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Three Killed in Pre-Election Clashes in Liberia

Clashes between supporters of Liberia’s two major political parties have resulted in the tragic loss of three lives in the northwestern Lofa county, according to reports by the United Nations (UN) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The violence erupted as the country gears up for its presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for October 10.

The confrontations occurred between the Unity Party, led by former vice president Joseph Boakai, and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, headed by George Weah, a former international football star and the incumbent president since 2018.

In a joint statement, the UN and ECOWAS called upon the leaders of both parties to strongly discourage their supporters from engaging in acts of violence or provocation. They emphasized the importance of ensuring a fair and peaceful electoral process in Liberia, a nation scarred by protracted civil wars from 1989 to 2003, which claimed the lives of over 250,000 people.

In April 2023, Liberia’s main political parties made a commitment to eschew violence and resolve electoral disputes through legal channels.

ECOWAS and the UN have urged the Liberian police to swiftly restore order, conduct impartial investigations, make their findings public, and prosecute those responsible for the violence. The United States embassy has also condemned the clashes. Both political parties have exchanged blame for the recent violent incidents.

With more than 2.4 million registered voters, Liberia is bracing itself for a critical election that will determine the country’s future leadership in the midst of heightened tensions and the need for peaceful transitions of power.

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