President George Weah has strongly condemned the deadly electoral violence in Lofa County, which tragically resulted in the loss of lives and property destruction.
The September 28 violence, which occurred between supporters of the President’s ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and that of former Vice President Joseph Boakai, is just one of many violence incidents that supporters of both parties have engaged in since the campaign for the October 10 polls opened on August 5.
Addressing a crowd of supporters in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, the President said that the Foya violence was an affront to the country’s democracy and unnecessary, reminding hundreds of Liberians who had gathered to see him on the campaign trail that there is no legal justification for violence, no matter the situation.
“What happened in Lofa County is sad and wrong. Liberians need to desist from any acts of violence,” the President publicly said on September 29. “We were in opposition to this country, and we kept the peace of this country.”
“Young people, keep the peace,” he said. “I say you should fight to keep the peace and sustain it. The youth should not allow anyone to fool them. We are heading toward prosperity. When our country is peaceful, everybody will have the opportunity and get something to do,” Weah added.
Weah, who had left Lofa about two days before the violence occurred after completing his campaign tour, has promised that the government will “take steps to hold those responsible for the violence accountable,” although he did not elaborate on the specific measures.
The international community has also joined in condemning the violence, with the U.S, ECOWAS, and other organizations calling for the prosecution of all those who masterminded the violence.
Meanwhile, in a short Facebook post, the U.S Embassy condemned the Foya violence and called upon the Liberian government to thoroughly investigate the matters and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims and urge everyone to maintain the peace,” it said. “The US Embassy calls upon authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. Political differences must be solved at the ballot box, peacefully, and never through violence. Violence is never the answer.”
As for ECOWAS and the UN, they called on the leaders of both parties to strongly urge their partisans to refrain from provocation and any other acts of violence.
In a statement, both groups noted that while they were condemning the violence in the strongest terms, they want the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and the Opposition Unity Party to fully cooperate in the ongoing investigations.
“ECOWAS and the UN commend the Liberia National Police for promptly restoring calm,” the release said. “ECOWAS and UN, however, urged the [police] to conduct speedy and impartial investigations and make public their findings and ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted.”
“ECOWAS and the UN call on all stakeholders and the public at large to continue upholding the values of peace, accountability, respect for the rule of law, in order to consolidate peace and security in Liberia during this critical electoral period,” it added.
A short video of the violence in Lofa: