By Lawrence Williams
The United Nations body in Sierra Leone has strongly condemned all acts of violence committed in Sambaia Bendugu ahead of the June 24 bye-election for Constituency 056 in Tonkolili district.
The UN Resident Coordinator to Sierra Leone, Babatunde Ahonsi, released a statement on 10 June calling for political leaders and their supporters to embrace peace for the benefit of the nation. The statement urged all political parties and their supporters; traditional and religious leaders to affirm their commitment to peace and show tolerance during electioneering periods.
“The United Nations deeply condemns all forms of violence and calls on all parts of society – including political leaders and party supporters, traditional and religious leaders, national and local institutions, and citizens in general – to commit to a spirit of tolerance and to work together to maintain peace in Sierra Leone,” the statement reads.
Furthermore, the UN calls for a speedy investigation into the violent incidents at Bendugu town that resulted in several injuries and property destruction. In the release, the UN body stated that it would support any dialogue aimed at resolving the political differences between the belligerent parties.
It is pertinent to note that Sambaia Bendugu was thrown into chaos by rival political groups contesting the parliamentary bye-election in constituency 056. There were clashes between rival political parties, notably the ruling SLPP and main opposition APC. These clashes resulted in a wave of violence on a massive scale.
As of now, both parties have 58 seats in the legislature. The party that wins this crucial election will inevitably take control of parliament. The security apparatus said the situation in the township has been brought under control, but no charges have been pressed. They said investigations are ongoing.