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Total chaos

The Kebbah Community in Barnersville, outside Monrovia was a scene of total chaos on the wet morning of Wednesday June 27, when a tragic accident involving a truck and two motorbike riders sparked a bloody riot.

The two motorbike riders were killed on the scene of the accident, while a woman sustained bullet wounds in her neck when police allegedly open sporadic gunfire in an apparent attempt to disburse the angry crowd during a standoff.

Eyewitnesses in Kebbah Community told our reporters that the driver of the truck marked HTC LB#14455, Abou Sheriff first hit a commercial motorcyclist only called Rufus and then hit the next motorcyclist who ran ahead of the truck to alarm the driver that he was dragging someone under his truck.

The truck from the Caldwell direction had used the Dixville route, heading towards Barnersville Junction when it allegedly hit and killed the two motorcyclists. Driver Abou Sheriff fled the scene but is now in police custody.

The incident sparked a bloody riot between police and residents when officers from the Liberia National Police (LNP) responded and tried to prevent mob justice by a crowd enraged over the death of the two motorcyclists.

The scene turned nasty when angry residents demanding the release of the driver engaged in throwing missiles at the police while the police in return fired tear gas canisters at the angry mob.

Things got worse when a lady identified as Helena Nimely who was returning home from hospital got hit in her neck by a gunshot allegedly fired by police.The shooting of the woman exacerbated the already volatile situation, as rioters set roadblocks over the killings of the motorcyclists and wounding of the lady.

The cyclists were said to be carrying passengers from the Bend and Stop area in Barnersville toward Kebbah Market when they got hit by the truck.The angry crowd set roadblocks at Kebbah, Bend and Stop and the Dry Rice Market Communities, stoning police while police fired teargas in return at the protesters. The police finally brought the situation control when they increase the use of teargas thereby effecting the arrest of some of the rioters.

An eyewitness, Moses Tucker told this paper that after the first motorcyclist was hit, the truck driver allegedly refused to stop. The witness said when the second motorcyclist ran ahead of the truck to alarm the driver that someone was under his truck, the truck driver moved and again hit the second motorcyclist, thus killing two persons instantly.

The alleged refusal by the truck driver to stop prompted angry crowd from the nearby communities to rush on the scene and sought to set the truck on fire.
The eyewitness said after the driver escaped the scene, LNP officers arrived there and allegedly started shooting live rounds at the crowd and seriously wounded a lady identified as Helena Nimely.

Another eyewitness named Momolu D. Bondo, Jr. says he was on the scene when the truck killed the two motorcyclists before the driver ran away. “We all came on the road and told the police the truck was not moving and the police started shooting and shot the woman in her neck. She fell right near me. The truck drivers are always in the habit of running with high speed on this road,” witness Bondo says.

“We want to burn the truck to ashes then next time they will not run and kill innocent citizens,” Mr. Bondo concludes.A motorcyclist identified as Joseph Douana who took the lady to hospital says they were all in traffic when the truck killed their colleagues and a little boy who was a passenger on the bike was also at the point of death when he was rushed to hospital.

According to Douana, they were trying to stop the truck from leaving when the police who were on the scene started shooting firearm over the crowd.He says a woman got wounded in her neck, but he (Douana) rushed the woman to the Trinity Healing Temple (THT) Health Center on the Barnersville Road for treatment.
“When they shot the woman in the neck, we all got angry and said they should kill all of us. When we started talking about the woman, one police officer said that it was rock that they threw and they know very well that rock cannot penetrate a wall like the bullet did,” witness Douana explains.

When visited at the THT Health Center, victim Helena Nimely told our reporters that she was shot by police when she came from the hospital in the morning and passed to Uncle Z Laundry where she works to give an excuse to her bosses that she was not well.

While on her way home from the laundry, she alleged the police were shooting at the crowd and shot her. But victim Helena says she was not part of the riot.
“I was crossing the road when the bullet entered my neck and I was not to myself when someone brought me here. The bullet passed through my neck and hit in the wall,” the victim who says she lives at Kebbah Field explains.

“I am crying today because if I had died, my kids would have been orphans because their father died and left them with me. I am a single mother,” victim Helena Nimely further explains in tears.

The Nurse at the THT Health Center, Florence T. Nagbe says one person from the accident died upon arrival at the hospital while the other one was seriously bleeding.

According to Madam Nagbe, they told the family members to take the person to a bigger health facility because they were unable to treat them.She adds that they were able to apply medication on victim Helena and she was responding to treatment. The nurse further explains that she didn’t see bullet in the wound, but however says the wound is a bullet wound.

“The bullet didn’t stay in the wound (neck) because it passed in the neck from the back. She is in a much stable position now,” nurse Florence says.Deputy Police Inspector General for Administration Col. Sadatu Reeves told our reporters on the scene that two police officers will be investigated for the shooting, but she declines to disclose the names of those two officers.

“It is my hope that the victim gets well. We are sure who fired and where the bullet came from but we are going to investigate and justice will take its course,” Col. Reeves says.
But Police Spokesman Moses Carter comes out to contradict his boss Col. Reeves, claiming in a press release that “no round was fired as was reported on social media.”
Mr. Carter has instead accused protesters of using petrol bombs, glass bottles, and stones to attack police officers, saying six persons have been arrested in connection with the violent protest and are undergoing investigation, while the truck driver Abou Sheriff is in police custody undergoing investigation.

He says victim Rodus Vormor was pronounced dead on arrival at the James David Medical Center and was later transferred to the St. Moses Funeral Home while the unidentified passenger was pronounced dead on arrival at the JFK hospital.

By Ethel A. Tweh & Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley, additional editing by Othello B. Garblah

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