Police in Monrovia have swooped on motorcyclists arresting 19 and impounding 40 motorbikes in the aftermath of the burning of a commercial bus Tuesday night at Stephen Tolbert Estate junction that resulted in the death of one motorcyclist.
Police spokesman Sam Collins told this paper the suspects are currently undergoing investigation at the Central Police Headquarters on Capitol Hill and appropriate action will be taken after the investigation.
But at the Ministry of Information press briefing yesterday, Information Minister Lewis Browne said, "If you burn the bus, the law will burn you. We cannot condone lawlessness in our country. This type of barbaric act has to come to an end." He said government would now enforce the traffic rules and regulations, which the Ministries of Transport, Justice and the leadership of the Motorcyclists Union put together for public safety.
But Police are still in search of other suspects allegedly involved in the wounding of Assistant police Commissioner for Operations, Darlington George and vandalizing a police pick up, and stoning of police officers who went on the scene to quell the situation.
"As I speak to you, we are leaving no stone unturned to hunt for the perpetrators. We will bring them down. And therefore, we are asking community dwellers to assist us in finding the perpetrators," Collins told this paper in an interview.
"We cannot condone this type of violent act. This is barbaric and we cannot allow it," he said.
As a result of the crackdown, motorcyclist operators in the Chicken Factory community abandoned the various parking stations for fear of police arresting their bikes.
Police officers arrested several motorbikes at traffic light in Via Town in their crackdown operation that continued from the Gardnerville.
A squad of police officers was assigned yesterday morning at Via Town arresting motorcyclists there.
"While we were asking the bus driver as to whether he would report himself to the police station for the accident, a large number of motorcyclists arrived at the scene and started setting the bus ablaze," eyewitnesses explained.
A cold water vendor at Stephen A. Tolbert Junction, Ms. Theresa G.O. Nyanti, said that the motorcyclists were wrong for burning the bus and had called on the Liberia National Police to intervene in the case because some bus drivers and taxi drivers had threatened to descend on the motorcyclists if nothing was done.
Some bus and taxi drivers who also spoke to this paper said if nothing is done about this issue, they will actually move on the motorcyclists in Monrovia and its environs.
According to the drivers, motorcyclists are always violating traffic rules and when apprehended by the police they end up going with impunity.