Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Saturday sounded an alarm over a wave of violence between rival groups ahead of a presidential run-off vote scheduled for March 27.
Violence was reported between main opposition party Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and ruling All People’s Congress (APC) in the southern city of Bo, as well as several other cities where some lodgings were burned, the AFP reports.
SLPP’s leader Julius Maada Bio emerged leader in the March 7 poll with 43.3 percent of votes while Samura Kamara of the APC came in second with 42.7 percent.
Since none of the candidates attained the required 55 percent, the NEC through its chairman called for a presidential run-off vote.
The NEC also said the commission’s staff were attacked and injured in Bo.
Diplomatic missions including the United States, European Union and Britain in a joint statement urged calm ahead of the March 27 vote.
“We appeal to all Sierra Leoneans to remain peaceful and respectful during the democratic process,” according to the text.
“We also entreat all political supporters to keep political activities and exchanges civil to maintain an atmosphere of tolerance and respect.”
Politics in Sierra Leone are mainly dominated by the SLPP and the APC with both parties having have ruled alternatively since independence from Britain in 1961.