By Kemo Cham
Three people have been confirmed dead and 25 others injured after a vehicle crashed into a crowd of supporters of the newly elected president of Liberia, Joseph Boakai.
The incident at the headquarters of the Unity Party in Monrovia on Monday night came hours after Mr Boakai was declared winner of the Tuesday, November 14 presidential run-off, beating incumbent president George Weah.
According to witnesses and victims, the driver of the unmarked vehicle involved in the incident reportedly plowed into the crowd of partisans as they celebrated outside the party’s office.
Liberian National Police spokesman, Moses Carter Snr., told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that investigation had been launched on the matter. He cited medical doctors confirming the three fatalities, noting that the 25 injured persons (6 females and 19 males), were undergoing treatment.
He also confirmed the arrest of a suspect, named Lawrence K. Williams, in connection to the incident.
The incident has provoked speculation about the real motive behind the the incident, with the Unity Party appearing divided over what exactly happened.
While former Finance Minister Amara Konneh, who is campaign chairman of Mr Boakai, ruled out any political motive, some members of his party believe otherwise and they are calling for thorough police investigation to unearth the truth.
Family members of the victims on Tuesday morning thronged to the JFK Hospital, Liberia’s main referral health facility, where most of the victims are hospitalized, to check on the condition of their loved ones.
Unity Party Secretary General, Amos Tweh, led a delegation to the hospital, where he disclosed 20 people were hospitalized. He also confirmed that three people had died, two of them on the night of the incident and the third in the morning.
Mr Tweh said four other victims were in critical condition.
He described the incident as an attack on the party.
“The unity party will do all it can to make sure that the state security go to the bottom of this particular matter,” he told reporters outside the hospital.
His party in a statement earlier described the incident as an act of “domestic terrorism.”
Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee was also quoted in a statement calling for a “a full scale” and “fair and impartial” investigation into the matter.
The police spokesman vowed that thorough investigation will be conducted.
“The public can be assured that this investigation will reach a logical conclusion, when justice will be served,” he told reporters in a press briefing at the headquarters of the police force.