SINJE TOWN, Sept. 15 (LINA) – The voters roll update began at the in Grand Cape Mount County with violent attacks on ‘imported voters’ who were trying to register in the county after being trucked from other parts of the country.
The 15-day voters roll update, which got underway on Friday, September 11, across the country, started peacefully until Saturday, September 12, when violence broke out at several polling centers.
According to the Liberia News Agency (LINA) Correspondent, who visited one of the centers in Kpeneji Town, Garwula District on Saturday, the process started smoothly until early afternoon when a National Transit Authority (NTA) bus arrived with an estimated 50 persons onboard.
The occupants, who were perceived upon arrival as normal passengers, disembarked from the bus and formed a queue at the Voter Roll Update Center.
Their action raised concern from residents of the town who began to question them as to where they came from.
The confrontation between the residents of Kpeneji Town and the occupants of the bus resulted to a fist fight that brought the entire voters roll update process to premature closure.
Speaking to the LINA Correspondent, the Town Chief of Kpeneji Town, Soko Kanneh, said they as residents of the town have no problem with people coming to their town to register, but it should be legitimate residents of the town or people who live in the county.
« Over the years, our leaders have accused us of not voting for them because people have come from different areas to register in our town so that after the elections our results are different from what the true residents voted for, » Chief Kanneh narrated.
« This has made our leaders to describe us as liars; so this time around we are going to protect our centers from outside voters, » he added.
« We will resist imported voters because it is against the law, and we want the presence of security officers, especially Police and Immigration officers at all the centers so that they can stop this bad behavior, » the Kpeneji Town Chief said.
In an interview with LINA, one of the riders on the NTA bus admitted that he came from Vai Town in Monrovia but that his mother hails from Grand Cape Mount County.
He said he is from Margibi County, but used the opportunity of the Voter Roll Update to visit his mother’s county.
The rider, who refused to give his name, also refused to tell LINA under whose instruction they came to Grand Cape Mount County.
At the end of the day, residents of the town overpowered those that came on board in the NTA bus and drove them outro of the town.
Similar incident occurred at the Daniel Town voter roll update center where residents were able to put a halt to the registration of some imported voters on the same Saturday.
The process resumed smoothly on Sunday at both the Kpeneji Town and Daniel Town centers, but there were reports of very violent incidents in Jenneh Liberia in Tewor District and Latia Town in Commonwealth District.
During the Jenneh Liberia incident, several people were wounded when residents resisted the registration of imported voters at their center.
Officers of the Liberia National Police were invited to restore calm in Jenneh Liberia.
In a related incident, the vehicle of Montserrado County District #17 Representative, Hanson Kiazolu, was reportedly attacked in Grand Cape Mount County by yet unknown men.
According to the report, he was allegedly attacked at two separate locations Sunday evening.
The District #17 lawmaker, who was reportedly on his way to Monrovia after attending the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) candidate endorsement ceremony in Tienii Town, had earlier warned against importing voters into the county.
According to sources close to the Montserrado County lawmaker, he escaped unharmed but several of the vehicles in his convoy were damaged during the incident.
The sources said the lawmaker’s vehicle was attacked first at the Robertsport junction and then around Gbah Jakeh in Bomi County.
The sources also told the Liberia News Agency that several persons accompanying the District #17 lawmaker sustained serious injuries.
There was no independent confirmation of the reports, while efforts to reach Representative Kiazolu proved futile.
It is also unclear who may have carried out the attacks on the lawmaker’s entourage, but about a year ago the Montserrado County District #17lawmaker was also attacked at the Robertsport junction by angry commercial motorcyclists.