Liberia: Victim of ‘Passenger-57’ Raises Insecurity Concern

“Passenger 57” victim, Cyrus Karngbaye

Monrovia – A victim of a criminal gang, locally known as ‘Passenger-57,’ Cyrus Karngbaye, has alarmed over the wave of security threats associated with this marauding gang, following his account of harassment from them.

Cyrus, 19, a resident of Center and Gurley Streets, said the threats from these “criminals” are alarming and wants government put in place strong measures that will stop them from harassing passersby daily.

His call follows an incident he encountered on Sunday, June 9, while leaving from a church service.   

“This is very serious and I cannot sit by and allow this to pass without informing the press. If strong security measures are not put in place by state security, these criminal activities will continue and citizens will not be able to move around freely during the day and night,” Cyrus said.

“The next time, someone might be killed by ‘Passenger-57’ criminals. It will be worse than what I experienced few days ago.”  

Cyrus told FrontPageAfrica Thursday, June 13, that he was harassed around 11 a.m. by these criminals, who move about in a car, which is locally known as ‘Passenger-57’. It is not definitely marked as such.

The occupants on these vehicles present to be passengers on a commercial vehicle. They move around looking for unsuspecting individuals, who they lure into the vehicle so that that person can be robbed.

According to Cyrus, it is one of such vehicles that he boarded along the Roberts International Airport highway as he headed for Congotown in Monrovia.

“There were only two persons in the gray colored taxi, which stop for me. I got in the front seat and while on our way, the driver stop for two other men along the way. I felt that they, too, were passengers, not knowing that it was a setup to rob me,” Cyrus explained.

According to him, at some of the way, a knife was placed at his throat from those in the backseat.

He said that incident led him to loose his Samsung S7 mobile phone, US$20 and L$2,000 dollars.

“I am not so much concerned about what they took from me but the security of every Liberian. If such an act can take place in the broad day, what about the night or who knows what might happen to someone who will refuse to let go of their valuables?” he asked.

According to him, he had seen police officers along the way but he had been warned by those alleged criminals that when he dares shout, he will be badly stabbed.

“They said if I say a word they were going to deal with me, so I could not shout for help.”

Cyrus displayed wounds he allegedly obtained from these robbers

He is calling on the Liberia National Police to do check of vehicles at strategic points along the roads in Liberia as another way of tracking down criminals involved with harassment and intimidation.

 Cyrus said he will report the matter to the police, but was advice by his parents and other community members to inform the media on the matter because such situation is not the first to be reported in Liberia.  

He disclosed that on Thursday, June 13, he identified one of the alleged doers on Carey Street in Monrovia and got into scuffle with that person, but he was overpowered and could not keep holding onto this suspect for the police to arrive.

“He was stronger than me so. He ran away from me,” Cyrus narrated.

It can be recalled that in June 2018, another batch of “Passengers 57,” fell into the web of citizens when they attempted robbing a lady, who had gone to one of the local banks in Monrovia.

According to eyewitnesses, the robbers followed the lady, when she was leaving the bank after doing her transactions.

The suspects included Kollie Fombah, 20, Aaron Doe, 28, Augustine Kieh and Fasu Donzo, 23, who were arrested in Logan Town on Bushrod Island.

Another incident was in January 2018, when criminals from the “passenger-57” vehicle narrowly escaped death from the hands of angry mob protesters at the commercial district of Redlight in Monrovia’s suburb Paynesville.

During that scenario, a police officer smartly drove the alleged criminals away from the scene amidst protest by angry crowd. 

Also in December 2011, at least four members of the notorious criminal gang were arrested in Monrovia and interrogated by Police.