Another act of mob violence – or vigilante justice, some call it – is compelling the Liberia National Police to take yet another drastic action against commercial motorcyclists as the fear of ‘ritualistic activity’ instigated the burning of a car that the LNP has said was innocent of the allegation.
The incident took place last Friday in Barnesville when angry commercial motorcyclists claimed a woman had been kidnapped by a man in the community and as a result they attempted to lynch him.
When they failed, they moved on his vehicle and set it ablaze.
Now the LNP has announced temporary suspension of all motorcycles plying the routes between Barnesville Estate and Barnesville Junction, and has warned of drastic action against any violators.
The Liberia National Police in a release yesterday said the decision is due to the continuous unruly and violent behavior of motorcyclists generally and particularly the incident on Friday, November 21 that resulted in the burning of the official vehicle of the Sinoe County Representative, Jeremiah McCauley.
The motorcyclists chased and burned the vehicle on allegation that the operator was a “heartman” following a reported fuss between the operator and his fiancée, the LNP investigation said.
The LNP said preliminary investigation has established that the vehicle was operated by the son of Representative McCauley and his fiancée when they were rescued by police assigned at the Johnsonville Police Depot.
The motorcyclists threw stones at the depot and demanded officers on shift to turn the vehicle operator over to them before setting Representative McCauley’s vehicle ablaze.
The police have arrested six persons in connection with the Friday night violence in Johnsonville.
Police Inspector General, Col. C. Clarence Massaquoi, said the ban on the movement of the motorcyclists in the affected areas will remain in place until a comprehensive investigation is conducted. The LNP has meanwhile erected three checkpoints on the main road linking Barnesville Estate to Barnesville Junction to enforce this restriction.
The brutal murder of a commercial motorcyclist recently in Ganta, Nimba County, caused violent response by motorcyclists that destroyed properties with a local businessman’s house and hotel being set ablaze.
The riot caused the Liberian government to issue a ban on commercial motorcyclists who later issued an apology with promises that they would abide by the law, and avoid violence action in the future.
With 2017 presidential elections looming and the number of deaths, particularly among civilians increased, officials have predicted violent responses whenever any death happens in the country.