Sierra Leone on Monday counted the presidential election votes following violence and the death of an opposition party volunteer.
However, international observers voiced concern about the lack of transparency in tallying ballots.
Provisional results are expected within 48 hours of Saturday’s vote, in which incumbent President Julius Maada Bio ran for a second term against a backdrop of public frustration over growing economic hardship in the West African nation.
Samuel Kamara, the head of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party, is seen as Mr Bio’s main rival.
Police fired tear gas at supporters who gathered at APC headquarters in the capital Freetown on Sunday after the crowd turned rowdy, police said in a statement.
A Reuter’s reporter inside the building said he found a woman without a pulse lying in a pool of blood under a window with a fist-sized hole in it.
The police did not comment on what happened to the woman, but an APC spokesperson said on Monday that she was a party volunteer and that she had died.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s election observation mission said it was concerned about the “highly polarised political environment” and called for transparent vote counting to build trust in the election process.
The Carter Centre, a U.S.-based election monitoring group, flagged reports “indicating a lack of transparency during parts of the tabulation process.”
Sierra Leone’s electoral commission said it would respond later.
Many Sierra Leoneans fear that more unrest could occur as results are announced, particularly if none of the 13 candidates secures 55 per cent of the votes cast, a situation that would trigger a runoff between the top two.
Schools, offices and most shops were closed in Freetown on Monday as Security forces cordoned off the APC offices and surrounding areas.
Sierra Leone has been on tenterhooks since unusually violent protests broke out last year over rising prices.
Bio and Kamara reported small-scale attacks on their supporters before the election.
Both sides have called for calm. But Mr Kamara questioned the independence of election officials before the poll, expressing concerns about the possibility of vote-rigging.
“Rest assured that I and the APC party would not and shall not accept any skewed, manipulated and unverified results,” he said in a statement on Sunday.