By Morrison O.G. Sayon
Chaos erupted yesterday in the commercial district of Redlight near Monrovia when police and motorcyclists again clashed thus leading to the death of one person.
The violent situation which started from the Benson Hospital Junction at about 1:25 P.M. immediately escalated like wide fire resulting to the burning down of a Police Depot in Redlight, amidst looting and disruption of normal business activities in Liberia’s main commercial district.
According to eyewitness account, the tension was ignited when a police officer allegedly hit a motorcyclist with a baton on his neck thus resulting to his instant death, while other information has it that a police officer hit the young man with a vehicle for plying the main street which is restricted for motorcyclists.
Eyewitnesses told The INQUIRER that Alfred Tanue, the bike rider who is believed to be in his early 30 was taking a passenger along the SKD Boulevard to GSA Road when he was spotted by a police officer who began to pursue him. In the process, according to by-standers, the passenger disembarked and Alfred continued his journey but the police officer continued his pursuit and allegedly hit him with the moving vehicle near the Benson Street Junction. The main vehicle used by the police is yet to be identified.
Following the incident, motorcyclists at the ELWA Junction, Duport Road, Redlight and surrounding areas immediately mobilized, set up road blocks at the GSA Road Junction, Benson Hospital Junction to stop any moving vehicles mainly police vehicles before moving to Redlight to disrupt normal business activities.
The motorcyclists who were in huge numbers reportedly overpowered the few police officers assigned at the Redlight Depot, freed the few prisoners in detention, made away with vehicles and bikes that were parked there before setting the depot ablaze.
After setting the depot ablaze, the motorcyclists who were then joined by other criminals in the area got on a looting spree moving from tables to another as marketers took to their heels for their dear lives something that resulted to serious looting of their businesses by the criminals.
Following nearly two hours of violence the fracas was brought under control when a re-enforcement of the Police Support Unit (PSU) moved on the scene to calm the tension. Prior to their arrival, the police depot had already been razed while many business owners lost their hard-earned businesses.
Despite the frantic efforts by fire fighters who later went to extinguish the fire, they could not help the situation as the entire building that hosted the police depot had already been razed to its foundation by the uncontrollable afternoon fire.
Women and children who had gone to carry on their normal business activities in Redlight were seen running helter-skelter for their lives while others were holding their babies to flee the danger zone.
At the Benson Hospital where the late Alfred Tanue was taken, hospital authorities informed this paper that the remains of Mr. Tanue was taken to the hospital at about 1:25 P.M. by a police officer identified as Melvin C. Menwoe and a representative of the Motorcycle Union in Paynesville.
One of the Doctors who preferred anonymity disclosed that he was informed by Officer Menwoe that the remains of Alfred was found lying on the street. He said Officer Menwoe also informed him (doctor) that the late Tanue was being pursued by a police officer but Tanue fell from the bike and died instantly. The doctor disclosed that Tanue’s case was ‘Death Upon Arrival’.
Meanwhile, police in Monrovia have arrested several persons in connection with the chaotic situation in Redlight and report from the police said eight police officers sustained injuries during the yesterday’s fracas.