UNMIL confirmes casualty in Liberia pre-poll violence, but urges restraint
The UN peacekeeping Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has confirmed that there was at least one death in Friday's violence in Monrovia involving security forces and supporters of the main opposition party, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), on the eve of the November 8 presidential runoff election.''There are reports from our people on the ground of several injuries and some casualties. At this point I can confirm one casualty, says Yasmina Bouziane, Spokesperson of the UN peacekeeping force.
Political violence erupted in the Liberian capital earlier on Friday, with other accounts saying there were at least three deaths.
It's still not clear exactly how many persons were killed, but a WADR's Reporter in Monrovia said he saw three dead bodies with bullet wounds.He said the violence started after Liberian police tried to clear the main boulevard in front of the headquarters of the main opposition party, CDC in Monrovia's Sinkor suburb for the free flow of traffic.
A confrontation started between the party's supporters and the security forces, after which the police opened fire.
In a statement, the UNMIL Sopokesperson said Earlier this morning there was a gathering of CDC supporters at the party’s headquarters and Liberian National Police, Police Support Unit and Emergency Response Unit were on the ground
"From reports we are getting on the ground it appears that tensions rose and the situation gradually began to deteriorate. UNMIL Police were sent on location and an UNMIL helicopter was dispatched to patrol the area" the statement said.
UNMIL said it responded by dispatching helicopter to patrol the area and some of the UN police and civilians who were on the ground sustained light injuries.
Meanwhile , UNMIL itself is not in the position to what exactly led to the violence but said investigations were still on-going to ascertain the circumstances of the incident.
According to the peacekeepers, thoug the situations has returned to calm, they are still monitoring ongoing development.
’’The mission deplores the loss of life and calls on all parties, supporters and all Liberians to exercise maximum restraint and not resort to violent acts to ensure that peace is maintained and preserved in Liberia.
The Mission has contacted authorities in order to prevent any escalation of the situation urging all to exercise the utmost restraint and to take all the necessary steps in accordance with their obligation to ensure that peace is maintained in the country,’’ the UNMIL statement concluded.
With just hours to the opening of polls, it’s not known whther the presidential runoff election will take place, though President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the National Elections Commission and ECOWAS and the US had said the vote will take place with or without the CDC.
Before Monday’s incident, the UNMIL chief, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Liberia Ellen Margaret Loj made a radio address urging Liberian registered voters to turn our on Tuesday and cast their votes.
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