Liberia: Violent Clashes Erupt as CDC and ALCOP Supporters Clash on Final Campaign Day President’s Convoy Attacked, Eugene Nagbe’s Driver Shot, Unconfirmed Fatality Reported

The conclusion of the political campaign leading up to the October 10 elections took a turbulent turn for both the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and the All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP) as their supporters clashed on Sunday along the Japan Freeway, just outside Monrovia.

Rita Jlogbe-Duoe, a journalist who was visiting the area, witnessed the event. She told FrontPageAfrica that the stone-throwing between the two groups caused pandemonium in the area, and many had to flee.

How It Began:

Rita explained that the clash erupted at St. Michael Junction along the Freeway. According to her, supporters of the ALCOP were wrapping up their campaign on one side of the four-lane freeway, while the supporters of the CDC were on the other side of the freeway marching through the freeway to their party headquarters in Congo Town.

She said initially, both groups were carrying out their respective rallies amicably without any interference. However, things changed when supporters of ALCOP opted to make a U-turn at New Georgia Junction, thereby necessitating the need for them to enter the side of the road that the CDC supporters were marching on. However, supporters of the CDC stopped them, stating that both parties should respect their boundaries.

“They retreated somewhere around JJY; that’s where they started throwing stones,” Rita said. FrontPageAfrica has not been able to independently establish who started the stone-throwing.

Guns Shot?

The Liberia National Police arrived at the scene and dispersed the crowd through the use of tear gas, as FrontPageAfrica gathered. Most of the supporters retreated to their campaign headquarters at Aluminum Factory while others made their way to Bardnersville Junction.

However, according to reports, tension escalated at Bardnersville Junction where the two groups clashed again, after a reported attack on the convoy that was escorting President George Weah on his final campaign.

The clash led to the smashing of a vehicle belonging to Eugene Nagbe, the campaign manager of the CDC. FrontPageAfrica has seen a video in which the driver of said vehicle displays a bloody wound on his left hand, which he said was a bullet wound. It is not clear who fired the gun. He’s heard requesting to be taken to the hospital.

FrontPageAfrica has also obtained a video depicting an unidentified individual wearing a blue shirt, which is believed to be a CDC campaign shirt. In the footage, this individual can be seen being pursued by a group of men who are believed to be supporters of ALCOP. The situation escalates as the man slips and falls, at which point the group of men wearing ALCOP campaign shirts descends upon him. The deeply disturbing captures instances of the victim being subjected to violence, including beatings with sticks, as well as being violently pelted with stones and blocks. It is unclear if he remained alive.

“We Did Not Provoke This” – Ali Sylla

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica on the incident, ALCOP’s campaign manager, Ali Sylla, said the stone-throwing started with supporters of the CDC who insisted that ALCOP supporters who were having their peaceful closure of campaign would not be allowed to make the U-turn at St. Michael Junction to go back to their campaign headquarters at Aluminum Factory.

According to Sylla, it was his decision for the group to make the U-turn in order to avoid confrontation with the CDC group even though, according to him, ALCOP had officially informed the National Elections Commission (NEC) of their official closure on October 8.

He accused supporters of the CDC of attacking his supporters. He also accused riot police from the Liberia National Police of shooting tear gas and live bullets into their campaign headquarters even though the crowd was also dispersing.

According to Sylla, over 15 of his supporters were badly wounded and some of them have been admitted to a local clinic in the Garndersville area.

“We did not do anything to provoke this,” he said, adding, “we were only trying to create euphoria for the closure of our campaign.”

“We have over 15 persons that are injured – some of them injured, some of them critical and they’re admitting them…We have a young man, his father just brought him in with a broken leg,” Sylla said.

Efforts to get comments from the Liberia National Police did not materialize up to press time.

However, a government source informed FrontPageAfrica that the Libera National Police is under-equipped to provide security for the elections. According to the source, the government is relying on Ivory Coast for tear gas. It is, however, not certain when these tear gas and other equipment may arrive.

Call for Peace

Sunday’s clash is one of several that have preceded this high-stakes election election. Last week, there was a deadly clash between supporters of the Unity Party and the CDC that led to the death of three people and several wounded.

The incident prompted condemnations from local and international organizations including ECOWAS, EU with the U.S. Embassy calling for justice for those who lost their lives.

In another statement delivered on Friday, October 6, 2023, Chargé d’Affaires Catherine Rodriguez emphasized the significance of the upcoming elections and underscored the United States’ commitment to ensuring that they are conducted in a free, fair, and peaceful manner.

Rodriguez discussed the critical role of the United States as a long-standing partner of Liberia in taking these elections seriously. She highlighted the recent announcement by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding visa restrictions for individuals undermining Liberia’s democratic process, emphasizing that such restrictions are one tool used to hold accountable those who may seek to disrupt the electoral process.

However, Rodriguez stressed that the most powerful tools in the electoral process lie with the Liberian people—their voices and their votes. She encouraged citizens to engage in meaningful dialogue about Liberia’s future with friends and family, to think about the nation’s long-term vision, and to carefully consider the candidates’ plans for the country.