Three people have been killed in clashes in Liberia between supporters of the country’s two main political parties ahead of next week’s elections, according to the UN and a West African regional bloc.
The Economic Community of West African States and the UN said on Saturday that the violence broke out in the northwestern Lofa county leading to the “loss of three lives”.
The clashes on Friday were between the Unity Party of former vice president Joseph Boakai and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change of George Weah, the ex-international football star turned politician and president since 2018.
In a statement, the UN and ECOWAS called on the leaders of the two parties “to strongly” urge their supporters to “refrain from provocation and any other acts of violence”.
Guaranteeing fair and peaceful elections is key in the the vote in a country ravaged by back-to-back civil wars between 1989 and 2003 that left more than 250,000 people dead.
Liberia’s main political parties pledged in April 2023 to avoid violence and turn to the courts to resolve electoral conflicts that may arise before and after the polls.
ECOWAS and the UN called on the country’s police to “promptly restore calm” and to “conduct speedy and impartial investigations, make public their findings, and ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted.”
The US embassy also condemned the violence. Both political parties blamed each other for the clashes.
More than 2.4 million voters are registered for the October 10 presidential and parliamentary elections.