Salone News

From the Freetown Media

1 September 2007 at 17:05 | 536 views

UN Chief frowns at election violence in Sierra Leone.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has expressed concern over the spate of violence ahead of the presidential run-off scheduled for 8 September. A statement attributed to the Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General, says the UN Chief abhorred the increase in election violence across the country and called on all parties and their leaders to do everything necessary to prevent the situation from escalating. Mr. Ban Ki Moon commended Sierra Leoneans for the peaceful and orderly manner in which the first round of the electoral process was held, Concord Times reports.

Solomon Berewa, Ernest Koroma call on supporters to be law abiding.

The two contenders for the presidential run-off election, Ernest Koroma of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party and Solomon Berewa of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have called on their supporters to demonstrate political maturity and denounced violence. In an interview with the United Nations Radio FM103 Mr. Koroma expressed his disappointment at the level of violence in parts of the country pointing out that he has always been warning his supporters to be law abiding and report any incident or provocation to the police. He said the accolades the country received from the international community in the 11 August elections must be maintained in the presidential run-off. Vice President Solomon Berewa on the other hand said he has been discouraging his supporters against the use violence as an instrument for campaigning. The 11 August elections were peaceful and transparent and we should continue on that trend if we are to earn the respect of the international community, he noted. The publication in the Independent Observer is based on a press release from the Public Information section of UNIOSIL.

Respect elections code of conduct, PPRC warns political parties.

The Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission Justice Sydney Warne has called on political parties to respect the elections code of conduct warning that violators of the code will be dealt with accordingly, The News reports. Addressing journalists at his office, Justice Sydney Warne caution supporters of political parties to desist from using provocative languages that are likely to lead to violence as the election process is not yet over. He admonished supporters of political parties to demonstrate the same political maturity as was the case in the first round of elections.

NEC condemns attack on the UN, international community.

A press release from the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has strongly condemned attacks on the United Nations and the international community by some print media, making particular reference to a publication in the SLPP Unity newspaper of 23 August edition, that questions the neutrality of the UN and the International Community in the elections, New Citizen reports. NEC according to the release reiterated its gratitude to her partners, particularly the Executive Representative of the UN Secretary-General Mr. Victor Angelo and the UN Technical Adviser to NEC, Carlos Valenzuela, for their tremendous assistance to the Commission. Any attempt to injure the relationship with the United Nations and the international community is an act of ingratitude and an attempt to sow the seeds of discord in the nation, the release concludes.

Ex-combatants are not law to themselves, police chief warns.

The Inspector General of Police, Brima Acha Kamara, has loathed the use of ex-combatants as body guards by political parties saying their active participation has heightened political tension across the country. According to The New Citizen, the increase in election violence ahead of the presidential run-off was as a result of the involvement of ex-combatants in the electioneering process. Mr. Acha Kamara noted that ex-combatants are hiding behind political parties to cause mayhem and warned that the police are more than ready to contain them. “Whether one belongs to a political party or not, if the person commits an offence, that person will be dealt with accordingly” he stressed. The police he assured has the capacity to ensure that the run-off election is violent-free.

APC campaign team under attack in Kailahun.

A joint convoy of the All Peoples Congress (APC) leader Ernest Bai Koroma and Charles Margai of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) came under attack by supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) whilst they were heading to Segbwema on a campaign trail ahead of the presidential run-off election. Addressing a hurriedly convened press briefing at the APC headquarters at brookfields, the party spokesperson, Hon. Alpha Kanu, told journalists that supporters of the SLPP who were armed with machetes and knives mounted road blocks and prevented the convoy from entering the township. There was skirmish in the township between supporters of the APC and SLPP and in the ensuing melee, the SLPP office was said to have been set on fire. The APC convoy was forced to make a u-turn to kenema as the life of the APC leader was under threat. Independent Observer quoting a police source says two people were killed in the skirmish in Kailahun. The attack on the APC convoy is reported in We Yone, Standard Times and The New Vision.

Source: UNIOSIL.