Liberia: Hold Perpetrators Accountable

Liberia's international partners, namely the United Nations and the sub-regional grouping-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have urged the George M. Weah Government to hold the perpetrators of the weekend electoral violence in Montserrado District #15 accountable.

On Saturday August 17, while attending a meeting with one of the contestants in the Montserrado County District #15 Representative by - election race, Ms. Telia Urey and those with her at that meeting were reportedly attacked as the latter escaped near death at the hands of attackers believed to come from ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in the politically tense district.

Telia, the daughter of the four collaborating opposition political parties chairman Mr. Benoni Urey, is the leading candidate in the by - election in which President Weah told a campaign rally that under his rule the Ureys will not win election here.

In a joint statement issued Sunday August 18, the UN and ECOWAS condemned the incident and urged the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia National Police to carry out a prompt and impartial investigation into the fracas so that thosethat are responsible can be held accountable, regardless of their political affiliations.

"We deplore the violent attacks that have taken place during the Senatorial and Representative by-elections and reiterate that electoral violence in all its forms and manifestations is criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, and constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security of Liberia. We condemn the violence that occurred on Saturday, 17 August in District #15, Montserrado County, between supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change and supporters of the Opposition Collaborating Political Parties.

We commend the Government of Liberia's swift move to defuse tensions and foster dialogue between antagonists. We urge all Liberians in general and political parties in particular to reject violence and avoid using inflammatory language or hate speech that could further increase tensions. We appeal to Liberians to safeguard the hard-won gains made in consolidating peace and democracy and urge them to address electoral complaints in a peaceful manner and through legal means.

The United Nations (UN) and the Office of the Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia (ECOWAS) wish to renew our continued support to peaceful, credible and inclusive elections," the joint statement said.

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