By Solomon T. Gaye
Laurina B. Lormia (Intern)
With few more days to the Presidential runoff election slated for November 14, 2023, report emanating from Nimba says Deputy Minister of State and defeated representative candidate, Anthony Quiwonkpa, launched an attack on Senator Jeremiah K. Koung, Vice Standard Bearer of the Unity Party, Senator Prince Y. Johnson, and other UP partisans, while on their way to campaign for the Unity Party in Zor Zualay, Electoral District 3 in Nimba County, leaving 11 wounded.
According to Senator Koung, they got credible information that President Weah had instructed some of his surrogates and supporters in Nimba to cause disturbances and fear, so that the people of Nimba cannot turnout in their numbers on November 14 to vote, like they did on October 10, 2023.
According to senator Koung, there are two major people whom the President used and is using: Anthony Quiwonkpa, son of the late Thomas Gankama-Quiwonkpa, a Dahn from Nimba county, who was a commanding general of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and founder of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL); and Garrison Yealue Denies, Chairman of Governance Commission, who also serves as the Deputy Chairman for the re-election campaign of President Weah.
Speaking to this paper at the Methodist Hospital ER, Josephus K. Cooper, alleged of being shot with a single barrel gun by supporters of Quiwonkpa, said, “The people attacked us with cutlasses, rocks, and iron, which led to some of the supporters being wounded, while others escaped into the bush.”
Two other victims, Marcus Nuah and Arthur Yeamie, called on the EU election observers to join the government in investigating the attack on the convoy.
So far, five arrests have been made in connection to the incident.
Senator Koung’s narration, he said on Tuesday, he went to Nimba from Monrovia. When he got there, he asked his special assistant to go on the radio and announce that he was going to Zor Zualay, which is the home of the Quiwonkpa.
“Immediately, I got a call from Anthony Quiwonkpa, then I got a call from another unknown number, and the person asked if we were going to Zor the next day, and I said yes, and he said, “come, you guys will see us here,” Koung explained.
According to Koung, he did a follow up on the unknown number, and it was one of the Anthony’s security guards, and he said a lot of things over the phone, and later used threatening remarks.
“In that time, I decided to returned Anthony’s missed call, and he asked me the same question, if we were going to Zor, I told him yes, but he insisted that we shouldn’t go there, that if we forced it and anything happened, I would be held responsible. However, I responded by saying, how will you put a stop to me? And furthermore, you are not a candidate in this election; this election is between Amb. Baokai, President Weah, Madam Taylor, and me, so you have no part to play in this election and you cannot restrict anyone on where to go and what to do,” Senator Koung added.
“He further said he was having a program there, and I told him no problem, go ahead with your program, I will cancel my trip tomorrow and push it to the weekend. I wrote a letter to NEC, they told me to go ahead over the weekend, that I should go to Zor on Friday and continue my campaign in the remaining 7 cities on Saturday, because there was no appointment for CDC in those two days,” said Koung.
The UP Vice Standard Bearer added, “Upon our arrival, when we entered the first town in Zor, we met a pickup filled with a team of riot police right on the road, I said probably it was the Justice Minister who sent the police, because I gave him a call when Anthony threatened us; I wanted him to get involved.”
He added, “Upon reaching the town, some guys from Anthony’s camp came with a huge noise, so we left that town and we passed through the other towns; while on our way to the Zorgowee Town, Senator Johnson parked and said he wanted to speak with me, so I immediately stopped, and he came to me and said I just received this text from Anthony, that if I go to Zorgowee that day, the blood of the people will be on my hands.”
Senator Koung added, “In responding to the message, however, I told Senator Johnson that we should allow the police to go ahead, while we remain at the back; however, when we entered the town with the musical set’s pickup, we saw Anthony walking towards us with over 20 men, and they opened fire on the pickup, single barrel rounds, two shots.”
According to Senator Koung, lots of people in the pickup received bullet wounds, before the police immediately rushed on them and arrested five of them with 3 single barrel guns, while Anthony escaped, and the police turned them over to the station in Sanniquellie; in no time, they gave receipts of all the arms to the police.
He added that the arms were received by one of the officers which the Justice Minister assigned to him – three police officers were assigned to him that day. The officers turned the arms over to the police at the station in Sanniquellie.
Koung concluded, “We rushed the people to the hospital that night; four were admitted at the Ganta hospital, while three were admitted at the hospital in Karnplay. 7 persons got wounded, but none died, and some people are under critical conditions. We hope and pray they fully recover. I’m hearing that the President said the guys that were arrested should be released; I don’t know how true that information is, but we will get to know tomorrow if they are released.”
Assassination Attempt Or Election Violence? …Prince Johnson, Jeremiah Koung Attacked in Nimba
By Solomon T. Gaye