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Sierra Leone's Rival Political Parties Clash Ahead of Elections


Rival political parties in Sierra Leone have clashed again ahead of next week's presidential run-off election.

Witnesses in the southeastern town of Segbwema say supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party threw stones at a convoy of the opposition All People's Congress party Thursday.

The witnesses say supporters of the two parties then fought each other until police intervened.

During the violence, the local ruling party headquarters was also set on fire.

On Sunday and Monday, political clashes in the capital, Freetown, led to several injuries.

Police are urging rival political parties to keep their supporters under control ahead of the September eighth election.

Police spokesman Chris Charley said Thursday party leaders have an obligation to control their members and to realize that no one is above the law.

The first round of voting August 11 passed peacefully and was deemed free and fair by international observers.

The run-off pits opposition leader Ernest Koroma against the ruling party candidate, Vice President Solomon Berewa. Koroma led Berewa 44 to 38 percent in the first round, short of the 55-percent majority needed for victory.

Outgoing President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah has threatened to declare a national state of emergency if fighting between the parties continues.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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