LAGOS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Sierra Leone party face-off has developed into
mass riots on Monday across capital Freetown as agencies reports say women were
raped during the rivalry between the two main political parties in the country.
Al Jazeera television reported that at least 20 people have been injured
and six women raped in clashes between the two largest political parties in
The clashes were set off on Friday, when members of the opposition Sierra
Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) were accused of throwing stones and broken bottles at
a parade led by the mayor of the governing All People's Congress (APC).
Reuters quoted witness as saying that police fired shots in the air to
disperse supporters of rival political parties in Sierra Leone's capital
Freetown on Monday.
It was learnt that tension had been heightened since the widely-praised
elections held 18 months ago in the war-torn country. Last week a by-election
had to be postponed in the district of Pujehun because of violence.
Sierra Leone has been recovering from years of political turmoil and civil
war and has held two elections deemed by international observers to have been
free and fair.
Though rich in mineral resources that include diamond fields, the former
British colony ranks bottom of the 177-nation UN Human Development Index, making
it one of the poorest countries in the world.