About one hundred (100) demonstrators yesterday staged a peaceful protest at the Temple of Justice, home of the Supreme Court, demanding justice for those who died or were wounded during the container truck accident that took place on April 8, on Johnson Street, Monrovia.
The truck, loaded with two 20 foot containers, lost control due to break failure, resulting in the deaths of three persons and injuring eleven others.
The protest began when the driver of the truck, Mohammed Kamara, was last Tuesday sent to jail by the Traffic Court, after he was turned over by the Liberia National Police (LNP).
Before Kamara was sent to jail, family members of the victims were informed by Judge Jomah Jallah that the truck was not insured and that the owner of the vehicle could not be located so that he would pay for the burials of the dead and the hospital expenses of the wounded.
Judge Jallah’s statement, however, prompted the protesters, who were mostly family members of the victims, to walk from their Johnson Street community holding placards bearing names and photos of their dead and wounded relatives.
The demonstrators chanted: “We want justice because our dead relatives’ bodies are getting rotten in the hospital morgue and we want the court to compel the truck owner to take care of the responsibility to bury them.”
A spokesman of the aggrieved families, Anthony Togba, in an interview with judicial reporters said their decision was to ensure that they were given a speedy trial that would compel the truck owner to bury the victims.
“After the accident, Vice President Joseph Boakai visited the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center where the victims were hospitalized, but up to present we have not heard anything from him,” Togba said. “This is why we are here demanding justice from the court.”
Togba also said he is disappointed by the failure of the police to identify and arrest the truck owner, one Dukuly, up to the time of their demonstration.
While protesting at the Temple of Justice, the demonstrators came in contact with Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, who did not agree with their action and called on officers of the Liberia National Police to disperse the crowd, which the police successfully did.
Meanwhile, the LNP have detained the president of the Trucking Union of Liberia for failure to present the owner of the truck in question. The Union President, identified only as Sumo, is also accused of making arrangements for the burial of the victims without the consent of lawyers representing the interests of the bereaved families.
Sumo’s detention took place after several hours of chanting by aggrieved family members on the grounds of the Temple of Justice and in front of the LNP headquarters.
“We want justice, our people are getting rotten,” they chanted.
The family members of the deceased have also been accused by their lawyers of knowing about the burial arrangements and not having them informed.
The counselors disapproved of any burial arrangements without the knowledge of the LNP and the court.
A family member, Clifford Kai, in an interview said he is disappointed that police officers assigned to the case have not been able to locate the owner of the truck.
Another family member, Mother Felecia Saoh, said she regrets that there are uninsured trucks plying the streets of Monrovia. The LNP has said it is following every step of the case to be able to locate and prosecute the owner of the truck.