21 December 2012

Liberia: Soldier On the Run

The police in Gbarnga, Bong County, have launched a manhunt for Mccquinson Emmanuel, the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) soldier who recently stabbed Perry Togba, a motorcyclist for demanding a balance LD$10 transport fare after the cyclist had dropped him and his fiancée, Sam Collins, Police Press and Public Affairs Director confirm to this newspaper yesterday.

"Yes Vivian Smith, the fiancé of the AFL soldier who stabbed the motorcyclist in Gbarnga recently has been arrested and charged with theft of service and aggravated assault," he said.

Mr. Collins said both the Defence Ministry and police were in search of Emmanuel, who allegedly stabbed the motorcyclist and fled the scene.

According to police records charging her with the offence, Vivian Smith who eyewitnesses in Gbarnga said masterminded the act, admitted to refusing to pay the motorcyclist's full fare, causing a verbal confrontation that led to stabbing the cyclist twice on his neck and other parts of his body.

"The motorbike boy is still at the Phebe Hospital undergoing medical treatment while we continue our search for officer Emmanuel," a police source told this paper via phone from Gbarnga.

The stabbing incident caused violent protest at the 'Iron Gate' outskirts of Gbarnga with motorcyclists setting tyres afire. The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) had to abruptly abandon her trip to Gbarnga to observe the recent national vision 2030 conference.

The angry protesters also stormed the AFL barracks in search of the soldier.

The situation late subsided after security forces intervened.

Though there is no sign on the whereabouts of the wanted AFL soldier, some citizens complain of threats from some soldiers allegedly carrying knives in the city.

"The Minister of Defence must do something to put his soldiers under control because they are really disturbing us here. In fact this motorbike boy's incident is the fourth incident since they brought them here. The moment you argue with them for your right, the next thing they do to you is to stab you like chicken. That must stop," Patrick Howard, a student recently told the New Democrat in Gbarnga.

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