A woman was found severely wounded and without a pulse at Sierra Leone’s opposition party headquarters on Sunday after police surrounded the building during a post-election news conference, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.
The person, who Reuters could not immediately identify, was motionless and badly wounded around the neck area. The window of the room she was found in had a shattered hole the size of a fist, the reporter said.
It is not immediately clear what happened outside the press conference or how the woman was wounded.
At least 200 members of the security forces blocked access to the headquarters of the All People’s Congress (APC) whose head Samura Kamara is seen as the main contender to unseat President Julius Maada Bio.
Two witnesses caught inside the building, who were later released by security forces, told Reuters they heard gunfire and saw tear gas. Several cars had been damaged on the road outside.
“We were just here on a press conference, then the next thing we knew we started hearing firing, and our whole office is surrounded by police and army,” said APC spokesman Sidi Yaya Tunis. The police and security forces did not respond to a request for comment.
The West African country voted on Saturday in a poll which the APC hopes will see public frustration with deep economic hardship foil Maada Bio’s re-election bid. Both parties say they are confident of victory. Results are expected in the coming days.
The election has been tense. The APC said their election representatives were attacked and intimidated in three districts on election day. The election commission on Sunday outlined several instances where officials were beaten or intimidated.
Unusually violent protests last year over rising prices have raised fears of political unrest. Bio and Kamara reported small-scale attacks on their supporters before the election, while the APC’s recent questioning of the independence of election officials raised tensions.
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