On Saturday, March 17, the Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission (NEC) warned the public of the risk of violence between rival political groups ahead of the run-off presidential election scheduled for Tuesday, March 27. Violence broke out on Thursday, March 15, in the city of Bo, where several staffers of the NEC were attacked and lodgings were burned. According to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), there has also been an increase in recorded instances of tribalism and hate speech in recent weeks, which could incite further violence.
Political demonstrations are likely to occur in the days leading up to the vote. Increased security measures are to be anticipated surrounding any political events that take place, particularly around polling stations during the election.
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) confirmed on Tuesday, March 13, that no candidate secured an outright majority in the first round of the presidential election that took place on March 7. According to the NEC, Julius Maada Bio, from the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party, received the most votes with 43.3 percent. Samura Kamara, the candidate from the ruling All People's Congress (APC), won 42.7 percent. The NEC announced that the second round of the election will be held on Tuesday, March 27.
Individuals in Sierra Leone, particularly in Freetown, are advised to keep abreast of the situation, refrain from any politically sensitive discussions in public, and avoid all demonstrations and polling stations as a precaution. Follow any instructions issued by the local authorities.
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