It was also reported that several people were injured, houses burnt, shops looted and even a police station torched and vehicles vandalized and burnt down.
Speaking on AYV, the Chief Executive, Abdul M. Fatoma, said such behavior is “despicable and is fast becoming a growing trend in the public space, with threats of violence or actual violence against party supporters, politicians and activists.”
He added: “We believe that these acts of political ‘gangster-ism’ are aimed at intimidating the democratic contestation of ideas and silencing dissenting opinions. The trend is worrying, particularly with the looming transition of power from one political party to another. Such unruly and criminal behavior, if left unchecked will inevitably escalate to outbreaks of political violence across the country.”
He further said that although the police have made some arrests; they must go ahead and prosecute those found wanting with sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction as this would send a clear message to others indulging in such practices that such behavior is not only wrong but criminal.
He used the opportunity to urge the Sierra Leone Police step up their game and immediately investigate and promptly apprehend the masterminds and perpetrators of these ruthless deeds, and swiftly prosecute and convict them.
While calling upon all Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of political views, to condemn and reject all forms of political violence as well as any individual and organization that may try to directly or indirectly justify violence or protect the assailants, the CHRDI Executive Director also urged political parties and their leaders to remind their supporters that violence cannot be tolerated because it is counterproductive and against the laws of the land.
He noted that in the past and even now, politicians have taken advantage of poverty and unemployment to recruit young men, who then intimidate and even kill their opponents or opponent’s supporters, adding that this must stop.