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Sierra Leone releases opposition protestors from custody ahead of election

by Derek Andrews
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The Prison Investigation Division (CID) of Sierra Leone released 35 political prisoners from custody Friday on the eve of a high-stakes nationwide election. The nation’s fifth election because the finish of its civil conflict in 2002 has sparked wide-spread unrest and prompted calls for peace from the worldwide group.

The event is the most recent transfer in an emergency negotiation course of between the events. The Financial Neighborhood of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union helped average the negotiations. The Elections Remark Missions of ECOWAS and the African Union launched a joint press statement on Thursday addressing the state of affairs. They urged all Sierra Leone residents to stick to the rule of regulation all through the course of the election. Additionally they highlighted the essential function of the Electoral Fee, saying the fee “should proceed to stay neutral within the execution of its mandate, within the larger curiosity of all Sierra Leoneans.”

This week, police detained the prisoners at demonstrations in opposition to the Electoral Fee. The entire prisoners are members of the opposition get together, All Individuals’s Congress (APC). Hundreds of APC voters took to the streets in quite a few cities on Wednesday to protest in opposition to the Electoral Fee. In a single such protest, witnesses shared footage on-line of police forces deploying tear gasoline and firing stay bullets in opposition to the protestors in Freetown. One particular person on social media shared pictures of what seem like bullet holes within the APC headquarters in Freetown.

APC claims that the Electoral Fee took steps to rig the election in favor of the Sierra Leone Individuals’s Get together (SLPP). They are saying that Chairman of the Electoral Fee Mohamed Konneh is an SLPP partisan. ACP has complained that Konneh’s Electoral Fee tried to govern census knowledge and sabotaged voter registration to rig the election in favor of SLPP. SLPP vehemently denies the declare.

Within the week main as much as Saturday’s election, relations between APC and supporters of the ruling SLPP have grow to be more and more tense. On Monday, opposition presidential candidate Dr. Samura Kamara held a rally in Bo, Sierra Leone’s second-largest metropolis. Supporters of incumbent president Julius Maada Bio appeared and attacked the rally, however had been overwhelmed again by APC supporters. Many accidents and several other deaths had been reported. Within the chaos, the APC get together headquarters in Bo burned to the bottom.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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