The Sierra Leone Police has released a news update on the clashed they had with commercial bike riders at Mile 91 yesterday, stating that they were attacked first.

It is reported that that two commercial bike riders were shot at the back during the riot, with the locals and the Councillor of the constituency accusing the Sierra Leone Police of irrational and unprofessional conduct.

According to the Police, in the early hours of 12th April 2022, the Police at Mile 91 were faced with a public disorder situation which lasted for about four hours.

This came against the refusal of the Police to release all five charged accused persons who were in the custody of the Mile 91 Police Station for traffic related infractions,” they stated.

These and other seven accused persons for various other offences were already court bound. Following the pleas for the release of all the five accused persons, the Local Unit Commander magnanimously agreed to release two among the five, in the spirit of community policing; but that gesture was turned down,” SLP explained.

They added that, “The sooner the Regent Chief of Yoni Mamaila Chiefdom – Yusif Barrie, who led the plea on behalf of the bike riders left the office of the LUC, commercial bike riders started flooding the Station.”

SLP noted that the Local Unit Commander further engaged them and still agreed to release two of the accused persons; but the gesture was again turned down, adding that they continued to insist on having all five of them released which the LUC stoutly refused.

While all the charged accused persons were loaded into the Police vehicle and then conveyed to Magburaka Magistrate Court, the commercial motor bike riders chased after the vehicle, pelting stones at the Police and accused persons,” they stated.

SLP further noted that one of the accused persons on board was hit with a stone and he sustained serious injury, but, the vehicle painstakingly drove off to Magburaka with all of them, for their first court appearance.

The commercial bike riders later regrouped and attacked the Station, pelting it with stones and locally made petrol bombs – with the sole intention to over-run and burn it down,” SLP stated.

They were however strongly repelled by the Police who fired teargas cannisters to disperse them.”

The Police explained that the bike riders quickly went on the rampage and started attacking anything that was of Police interest within the township and nearby villages, adding that they also blocked the Masiaka/Bo highway and the road leading to Magburaka.

With Police reinforcements from Moyamba and Magburaka, the situation was finally put under control and calm was once more restored to the township and all illegal blockages erected by the rioters were removed,” they stated.

SLP stated that they have made two arrests and six motorbikes left behind by fleeing rioters are presently with them as exhibits.