Justice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Benedict F. Sannoh has vowed to prosecute those involved in last Thursday’s Red Light conflict, including any officer of the Liberia National Police (LNP) who acted unprofessionally.
He announced that motorbike riders on the streets of Monrovia in particular, ELWA junction to Paynesville Red Light and Paynesville Red Light to Double Bridge and Paynesville Red Light to Mount Barclay are suspended effective last Friday.
“LNP is hereby instructed to impound any motorbike found plying the streets from this date, and to have the rider arrested, detained and charged,” Minister Sannoh added.
According to him, this will enable the government to secure a corridor of peace and tranquility in the affected areas, investigate the circumstances that led to the disturbance and take appropriate actions.
He called on residents and citizens in the areas affected to cooperate with the government in having this incident investigated.
At a news conference in Monrovia on Friday, Cllr. Sannoh explained that upon the death news of a bike rider, the riders went on a rampage during which they vandalized and destroyed 5 police depots, released all the detainees and set the stations ablaze.
According to Minister Sannoh private and police vehicles were damaged and a number of police officers, including female officers were attacked, stripped naked and seriously injured.
Minister Sannoh warned that motorbike riders will not be allowed to hold Liberia under hostage nor will the peace and stability of the country “be left to their whims and caprices or to the whims and caprice of their supporters as experienced on Thursday.
“This incident caused panic, fear and disruption of normal activities in the Paynesville area and its environs and the government will not allow this despicable act to go unpunished,” he warned.
Minister Sannoh further explained that before the Red Light episode, an AFL soldier assaulted and killed a bike rider in Thinkers Village community and the soldier has been arrested and detained.
According to him, the Minister of Defence and the AFL Chief will soon make a determination as to whether the soldier will be tried by the AFL under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or will be disrobed and turned over to the Justice Ministry for prosecution.
The Justice Minister warned, “The government will not condone impunity and we want to assure the general public that the AFL soldier will be tried and punished in accordance with the law.”
Minister Sannoh said another death also occurred on Friday morning when a commercial truck ran into a motorbike rider resulting into injuries from which the rider subsequently died. The truck driver, he said, has been arrested and charged.
“We are aware that the use of motorbikes is an economic activity and that it creates jobs for many people, particularly our youths.
“The right to use motorbikes does not confer upon bike riders any special privilege to engage in conduct that will undermine the peace and stability of Liberia,” the Justice Minister emphasized.
Meanwhile, Minister Sannoh has called on all bike riders to respect the law and submit their grievances to the law and not to take matters into their own hands.