As the Sierra Leone Police declares one David Kamara alias ‘David Prezo’ wanted for an allegedly perpetuating violence and mayhem last week, the executive of the Sierra Leone Commercial Motor Bike Riders Union has called on the relevant authorities to speedily investigate and come out with report on the circumstances leading to the ‘untimely’ death of two of their members, and to bring their killers to justice.
The executive of the under fire bike riders allege that their members were killed by unknown security agents.
The commercial motor bike riders last Thursday spearheaded violence in the capital, Freetown, burning tires on the newly constructed hillside bypass road and the road leading to Fourah Bay College, attacking the New England Ville Police Station at night and burning five motor bikes parked at the station.
Their action, which has been condemned by the citizenry, may not be unconnected to a blanket ban on the riders to plying the Central Business District and other thoroughfares in Freetown.
The measure, imposed by Minister of Internal Affairs, Alfred Palo Conteh, is an ongoing crackdown on lawlessness among commercial motorbike riders, who have been blamed for several accidents in both the capital and other parts of the country. The predominantly youthful riders are charged with disobeying traffic rules and regulations, riding without helmet and driving licenses, among others.
The police, who are empowered to enforce the ban, have been targeted by the riders, who claim that the latter are using high handedness to enforce the ban.
In a statement issued by the Sierra Leone Police over the weekend, they noted that “Reports reaching the police indicate that these Okada riders plan to sustain their attacks especially at nights by further resorting to violent confrontations with security personnel and also targeting government vehicles and property; thereby disrupting the peace and tranquility of the state. Police headquarters’ attention is further drawn to intelligence reports indicating that some members of the Sierra Leone Commercial Motor Bike Riders Union executive led by one David Kamara alias David prezo, in fact, planned and coordinated the incidents in Freetown. They are also inciting their colleagues in the provinces to engage in demonstrations similar to the magnitude currently being perpetrated in Freetown.”
The police declared Kamara alias “David Prezo” wanted and encouraged members of the public to assist them with any information that could lead to his arrest and prosecution.
The statement further stated that “police headquarters wishes to condemn these acts of lawlessness and views the intending actions of the bike riders as a threat to public peace and a direct threat to the safety and security of the people of this country. The police will therefore be on full alert to arrest any person or persons suspected to be planning or engaging in any activity that is inimical to the peace, stability and tranquility of the state.”
Director of Operations at Police headquarters in Freetown, Assistant Inspector General of Police Al-Sheik Kamara, said on FM 98.1’s ‘Good Morning Show’ last Friday that some arrests were made, but could not state the number.
Attempts by Concord Times to ascertain the number of arrests by the police were futile as the police media head could not be reached on his mobile phone lines, which were both switched off.
While condemning in the strongest of terms the violence and destruction of properties allegedly perpetuated by a renegade section of their members, the executive of the Sierra Leone Commercial Motor Bike Riders Union has called on their members to remain calm, obey the laws of the land and desist from any violent activities.
In a statement issued by the executive and signed by their president, David Sesay, they promised to cooperate with security forces to bring the perpetuators of the alleged violence and destructions to justice.
They further stated that, “As an executive, we have channeled our concerns through the appropriate authorities and we believe these concerns are currently being looked into. Hence it behooves every member of the union to uphold the laws of the land. In this regard, we are hereby looking forward to the outcome of our channeled concerns to the necessary authorities. The executive is urging every law abiding member of the union to desist forthwith from any act of lawlessness and look forward to their leadership for a way out of the current standoff.”
They alleged that two of their members were killed by unknown security agents and called on the relevant authorities to speedily investigate the said killings.
“Whiles we call on our members for calm, we also wish to condemn the killing of two of our members in cold blood allegedly by unknown security agent, therefore we are calling on the relevant authorities to speedily investigate and come out with report on the circumstances leading to the ‘untimely’ death of our members and also bring their killers to justice,” they urged.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sesay told Concord Times in a telephone interview on Saturday that his residence was targeted by some riders who vandalised property as they searched for him. He said though that he escaped unhurt.