Teen killed as violence hits S.Leone by-election

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FREETOWN, Sept 30, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Violent clashes erupted during a local
by-election in Sierra Leone leaving a teenager dead and prompting the
cancellation of the ballot, police and election officials said Sunday.

The incident occurred on Saturday at a polling station in a school in the
northern Kambia district, where a ballot box was destroyed, sparking an
altercation between supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party
(SLPP) and the opposition All Peoples Congress.

But the confrontation quickly turned violent with a teenager killed in the
clashes, police told AFP.

“The intensity of the clashes resulted in the death of a boy,” a police
source said.

Polling station staff immediately suspended the ballot but were prevented
from leaving for three hours until they were rescued by the army with help
from police, a commission statement said.

It was not clear what sparked the confrontation, but an APC spokesman
expressed anger over the cancellation of the ballot.

Sierra Leone, which was battered by civil war between 1991-2002, is
sharply divided along regional lines that overlap with ethnicity.

The APC broadly relies on the Temne and Limba people in its northern
strongholds, while the SLPP is more popular in the south with the Mende
ethnic group.

One of the world’s poorest nations despite huge mineral and diamond
deposits, Sierra Leone is recovering gradually from war and disease. Its
economy remains fragile, with corruption widespread in the former British
colony.

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