14 December 2012

Liberia: 'Pehn-Pehn Boys' Give AFL Ultimatum

The Bong Motorcycle Union (BMU) in Gbarnga, Bong County has given 72 hours ultimatum to authorities of the Armed Forces of Liberia to investigate the stabbing of one of their colleagues by an AFL soldier at the Camp Tubman Military Barracks in Bong County.

The head of the BMU Sam Elliot, said the AFL soldier and his girlfriend should be brought to justice for the act committed on the motorcyclist on Wednesday, December 12, 2012.

Mr. Elliot noted that the incident is neither the first nor second involving army personnel nor motorcyclists in the county.

He said soldiers of the AFL ought to be professional man and women, who took oath to protect lives and properties rather than harming peaceful citizens.

Sam Elliot also noted that if the 72 hours ultimatum expired and the BMU does not get any redress from the AFL authorities, a serious ban will be placed on all AFL personnel in the county from riding commercial bikes.

Speaking on a local radio talk show in Gbarnga, he said the union will make sure no soldier in the county will have access to public transport services being provided commercial bikes.

The BMU's action comes in the wake of serious protest on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 in Gbarnga by commercial bike riders commonly referred to here as 'pehn-pehn boys' after of their colleagues Perry Togba was allegedly stabbed by an AFL soldier near the Tubman Military Barrack on the outskirt of the city. The Army officer, who reportedly committed the act, has been identified as Marc Quincy.

On Wednesday, Perry Togba took the fiancé of Officer Quincy from the Gbarnga market to the barrack adjacent the Iron Gate Community for $30 Liberian dollars, but upon arrival there, the girl gave Perry $20 Liberian dollars instead of 30LD as earlier agreed.

In the process of asking for the balance 10 Liberian dollars, a quarrel ensued between the bike rider and the girl, who sought her boyfriend's (a soldier at the barrack) intervention.

The soldier allegedly stabbed the motorcyclist several times in his chest, and on his arm and head with a pair of scissors, leaving him severely wounded. The victim was subsequently taken to the C.B. Dumbar Hospital in Gbarnga, where he is said to be receiving medication.

The manhandling of the motorcyclist caused the city of Gbarnga to have come to a standstill Wednesday for several hours as protesting 'pehn-pehn boys' burned tires and set roadblocks, preventing vehicles from leaving or entering the city in apparent anger.

Authorities of the Defense Ministry have regretted the incident and promised to launch full investigation into the matter.

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