The attack was reportedly a backlash from an earlier confrontation in the town between the two political parties. The parties were scheduled to rally on alternate days with the All People’s Congress rally set for March 15.
However, commercial motorbike riders who support the Sierra Leone People’s Party came out and there was a confrontation, according to local media reports.
“We were under siege for five hours with the attacking youths pelting our homes with stones and just anything they could lay their hands on. We could hear their angry voices accusing us of supporting the Sierra Leone People’s Party as we hid inside our homes, even though some of us are not supporters of either the APC or SLPP,” Saffa told United Methodist News Service. “They said this is a predominantly SLPP community; hence, they were going to destroy every home.”
Gibril Turay, Chief Superintendent of Police at the Bo West Police Station, confirmed that the incident occurred and was under investigation. However, he could not confirm the allegations from the community that the attackers were from the All People’s Congress or from the SLPP.
Political intolerance, intimidation and violence have increased, especially in the provinces, since the National Electoral Commission announced the presidential results on March 13. Both parties (APC and SLPP) are accusing each other of inciting and supporting violence.
Abdulai Sheriff, 21, a student at Njala University and Saffa’s next-door neighbor, was stabbed with a dagger during the attack and is currently hospitalized at the Bo Government Hospital. He lives with his grandmother in an adjacent apartment.
The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone worked to curb election violence across the country ahead of the March 27 election.
A team of young adults hit the road last month to promote anti-violence messages. The campaign was aimed at young people who often are targeted by politicians to incite violence.