By Enyichukwu Enemanna
A number of Liberia President-elect, Joseph Boakai’s supporters have been feared dead, while many others were injured after a vehicle rammed into them during the celebration of Boakai’s electoral victory.
The incident came just hours after Liberia’s electoral body declared Boakai, the winner of last week’s presidential election which botched the second term bid of the incumbent President George Weah.
Boakai’s Unity Party (UP) has called the incident a “barbaric act of domestic terrorism” but police say it’s an “accident”.
On Monday evening, Mr Boakai’s supporters were celebrating the official announcement of his victory outside the UP headquarters in the capital, Monrovia.
Weah has since conceded defeat and called for unity after a run-off election with just over 20,000 votes separating him and Boakai.
There are conflicting reports on the time of the incident, but witnesses place it at some point in the two hours after 21:00 local time (21:00 GMT).
“[The vehicle] just picked up with speed and ran into the supporters,” UP spokesman Mohammed Ali told the AFP news agency.
The driver is reported to have abandoned the vehicle near the party office before fleeing but the police have launched a manhunt.
Eyewitnesses told the Liberian Observer newspaper that they initially thought the incident was caused by a brake failure, but the driver’s sudden take-off fuelled suspicions of a planned attack.
In a statement, the police called what happened “an accident incident” and urged UP supporters to “remain calm” while investigations were under way.
It said that 16 people were injured with two unconscious in hospital.
UP chairman Luther Tarpeh has said that two people are confirmed dead and four others are “very critical”.
In an earlier statement, the UP said the development is “devastating, wicked and barbaric act of domestic terrorism, leading to loss of precious lives”.
Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines