13 December 2012

Liberia: Riot in Gbarnga

The timely intervention of police and other law enforcement officers Wednesday defused a violent rampage by motorcyclists who stormed into action to avenge the stabbing of one of their colleagues by a government soldier over his incorrect payment of transport fares.

Motorcyclists Wednesday morning went on a rampage burning car tyres in protest against the stabbing of one of their colleagues simply identified as Kollie.

Kollie's stabbing stemmed from his argument with a soldier of the Armed Forces of Liberia who refused to pay him the balance of LD10 after the motorcyclist dropped at his destination.

The protesting motorcyclists besieged the Iron Gate entrance to Gbarnga with burning tyres.

Kollie had allegedly transported the soldier and his friend for a distance costing LD40, but the soldier refused to pay the balance LD10.

Moses Kollie, a protestor, told New Democrat in Gbarnga that they were avenging the stabbing of one of their colleagues by an armed Forces of Liberia personnel, whom he claimed stabbed the motorcyclist after he demanded the full payment for transporting him (soldier) and his friend to their destination.

"They agreed on LD40. But upon arrival, the soldier and his friend refused to pay the full amount. He instead decided to pay LD 30."

The boy told him to pay the balance LD30, but he refused.

"Following the soldier's refusal, the motorcyclist too seized the bag his friend was carrying. Upon seeing that, the soldier began to stab him with a pair of scissors," he said.

Another aggrieved motorcyclists, Henry Tokpa, said following the act, the soldier and his friend fled the scene. This is why we are here to seek justice for our friend who is in a very critical situation at the hospital," Henry Tokpa said.

The angry youths then stormed the Gbarnga immigration checkpoint demanding justice despite the city being packed with delegates at the Vision 2030 economic development strategy conference, attended by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and high level government and private sector officials and diplomats.

When the matter reach the conference hall yesterday, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai was heard on the radio expressing concern and saying an investigation was underway.

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