Liberia: Citizens protest against ritual murders – release on bail of arrested ANC supporter who posted Facebook message on ritual killings

The unrest in Liberia continues and even gets to a higher, organized, level. On Tuesday, October 5, a civil society organization, Citizens United Against Ritual Killing (CURK), staged a peaceful protest against the alleged wave of ritual murders across the country. The Liberian National Police continues to downplay the allegations though it admitted that at least one ritual murder had taken place.

A worrying trend is the arrest of a Facebook user, Jethro Harris, who was accused of ‘inciting disorder and chaos’ because of a post about an alleged ritual murder. Harris’ arrest comes in the aftermath of accusations by government officials that members of opposition parties are responsible for spreading ‘fake news’.

Ritual murders, which are a violation of the right to live and to live without fear, have thus become another threat: an attack on the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression. Hence the arrest of Jethro Harris, a supporter of the Alternative National Congress – one of a coalition of four political parties opposing the ruling CDC, Congress for Democratic Change – has added another dimension to the politicization of the phenomenon of ritual murders in Liberia:  a battlefield between ruling and opposition political parties (webmaster FVDK).

Citizens protest against mysterious death

Published: October 6, 2021
By: Lincoln G. Peters – The New Dawn, Liberia

Several residents of Monrovia under the banner Citizens United Against Ritualistic Killing (CURK) staged a peaceful protest Tuesday 5 October 2021 against the alarming wave of alleged ritualistic killings across the country.

According to the group, the current increase in the wave of ritualistic killings across the country is alarming, adding that there is no safety and protection for citizens in the country.

The Liberian National Police says reports of increase ritualistic killings here are fake news being propagated by the opposition.

But speaking in an interview with journalists at the protest scene in Bassa Community in Monrovia, the group’s spokesperson and chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) Solidarity Brigade Byron Brown said their peaceful protest was meant to call the attention of the world to the alarming wave of alleged ritualistic killings across the country.

“The Government of President [George Manneh] Weah continues to show little or no interest in finding [a] solution to the problem and fear that is in citizens,” Byron Brown alleged.

Contrary to Brown’s allegation, the Liberian Government is blaming members of the opposition parties here for spreading fake news surrounding reports of ritualistic killings in the country.

Reports of killing for the past weeks have taken the country by storm, followed by social media posts that petrified the public with gruesome photos and testimonies of killings taking place in the country.

But in their reaction, the Liberian authorities say two ladies and a man launched podcasts on Facebook in which they explained they were seized from different locations, taken to woods, and escaped death at the hands of their captors.

But Byron insisted that since the ascendancy of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to the leadership of the country, there have been uncontrollable waves of alleged mysterious disappearances, kidnapping, and ritualistic deaths in the country.

“These things have [a] negative impact on the country and economy. This action today is void of politics and we are doing this to save our country and open it up to international investment and economic progress,” Brown claimed.

He denounced as disingenuous to the country and its people, Liberia National Police (LNP Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Suede’s claim that there is only one ritualistic death in the country, alleging instead that are ten reported ritualistic deaths across the country.

“We are going to our Legislature, the United States Embassy near Monrovia and we will petition them to call their attention to what is happening in the country that [the] government continues to give deaf ears to,” Brown continued.

“We are living in total fear in our country. Our peace and security are not sure. We are standing up for what we believe will liberate our country and secure international investors’ confidence to help our economy grow,” he added.

Byron noted that peaceful protest is expected to last for a week until the Government of Liberia can respond to their plight and assure their security and protection in the country.

Source: Citizens protest against mysterious death

And:

Hundreds of Liberians protest alleged ritual murders

Archive photo / [FILES] Liberian policemen .(Photo by Zoom DOSSO / AFP)

Published: October 5, 2021
By: AFP – The Guardian, Nigeria

Hundreds of women protested in Liberia’s capital Monrovia on Tuesday against a wave of alleged ritual killings in the country, an AFP journalist saw.

Rumours of ritual murders have been spreading on social media for weeks in the West African nation, with reports of corpses found with body parts removed — ostensibly for occult purposes.

Liberian police have denied the bulk of the reports, however, and arrested a member of the political opposition accused of fanning the rumours. (See below – the webmaster FVDK)

On Tuesday, hundreds of women gathered in front of Monrovia’s capitol building, which houses the country’s legislature, to protest the alleged slayings. 

The group also delivered a statement to legislators, seen by AFP, demanding that the government and police examine “the exponential rate of ritualistic killing”.

Ritual murders are not unheard of in Liberia and were common during the country’s back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003. 

Body parts severed from the victim’s corpse are thought to be used in rituals designed to benefit the murderer. 

However late last month, Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue announced that most of the recent alleged incidents are baseless, according to local media.

“These are paid agents,” he was reported as saying, referring to the people circulating the rumours.

Sudue nonetheless clarified that one ritual murder did occur recently in southeastern Liberia.

Last week, Liberian police arrested a member of the opposition party Alternative National Congress for posting misinformation about ritual killings online.

Liberia is a poor country still recovering after its brutal civil wars and the West African 2014-16 Ebola pandemic, which killed 4,800 people in the country.

Source: Hundreds of Liberians protest alleged ritual murders

And:

ANC Partisan jailed for ‘False Alarm’ — but the party says police tramples on his right to speech

“This is a misdemeanor and the police sent a whole container of people to Nimba County to arrest this young Defendant Jethro S. K. Harris for exercising his right to free speech,” Mr. Cummings said.  

Published: October 5, 2021
By:  Tina S. Mehnpaine – Daily Observer, Liberia

The Monrovia City Court on Monday, October 4,2021 jailed Jethro S. K. Harris, a stalwart of the Alternative Nation Congress (ANC) for allegedly spreading ‘False Public Alarm’ through his Facebook post.

On Monday, September 27, 2021, Defendant Jethro Harris posted a photo of the late Ms. Rolisa N. Gbeintor, a Liberian and alumnae of the Lenn Miller High School in Sinkor, Monrovia along with a graphic, claiming that it was the body of the late Gbeintor with parts extracted from her body.  

Harris was arrested last week in Nimba County while on a tour with fellow partisans and political leader, Alexander B. Cummings. According to the police charge sheet, defendant Harris was invited for questioning but did not show up. 

“Investigation established that Ms. Gbeintor got sick for a protracted period and subsequently died, that defendant Harris willingly, purposely and intentionally did the post so as to buttress falsehood already being circulated by some persons to be identified that the country is unsafe,” the LNP said. 

“In view of the foregoing, the investigation herewith charges Harris with the commission of the crime ‘False Public Alarms in Violation of chapter 17, section 17.4 of the revised penal law pending trial by the court of competent jurisdiction,” the police said. “In cognizance of article 12 (b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, defendant Jethro was arrested and subsequently informed of his Miranda rights.”

The police added that the post by defendant Harris does not have any Iota of truth and was intended to instigate citizens and persons residing in the country against the National Security apparatus, create economic hardships, and stall the movement of peaceful people. The police also said Harris’s post creates the impression that “investors closing down their business and leaving the country.”

The police believe that Article 15 (a) of the 1986 Constitution provides that every person shall have the right to freedom of expression but also reminds citizens they are fully responsible for abuse thereof. 

Of late, reported cases of ritual killings and survivors’ stories have been on the rise. In Caldwell, for instance, a lifeless body of a lady was discovered with body parts extracted, same as with, to create, the Soul Clinic community.  The victim this time around was a male. 

But for police authorities, pictures and videos about ritualistic incidents are not a representation of what is unfolding in the country. The police added that they were posted to instill fear in the citizens and to tarnish the image of the country and raise false national security alerts. Police then warned those involved in orchestrating a negative image about the country to desist or face the full weight of the law. The arrest of Jethro is reportedly the first by the police days after warning against the spread of fake news about an issue that has to do with a mysterious death.

For the ANC, Harris committed no crime and broke no law or violates the Penal code of Liberia. Rather, his Facebook post is a protected speech under the Liberian Constitution (Article 15) and under Constitutional Law. 

“Sections 12.33 and 17.4 of the Penal Code do not fit into Jethro’s post. He did not falsely post about an IMPENDING bombing or other crime as required by 17.4; neither did he report to any law enforcement official as required by 12.33.  He simply posted on his Facebook page,” argued ANC Secretary General Aloysius Toe.

Toe added Jethro’s post was a recreation of an alleged gruesome act of ritualistic killing, even if false and untrue, that has been making rounds on social media; and may have reasonably believed that what he came across on social media, coupled with massive public outcry about ritualistic killings, and thus recreated on his Facebook page, was intended only to draw public attention.

“He alleged that an act had already been committed, he didn’t say the act was impending (about to happen) as required by Section 17.4 of the Penal Code. The charges against him are   bogus and politically motivated,” the ANC said. “This is a CDC government clamp down on the opposition, using a rather professional police force to carry on partisan policing.”

The ANC Secretary General added Jethro was only targeted and falsely arrested and falsely imprisoned because of his association with the opposition community, and in particular, Alexander B. Cummings. 

“Police IG Patrick Sudue knows and should have reason to know that he’s proceeding wrongly and illegally by ordering the false arrest, and false imprisonment of Harris. There will be legal consequences. But Jethro Harris is spending 3 nights in a filthy police cell on bogus charges without investigation simply because of his root with an opposition political party. “

The ANC’s standard-bearer, Alexander B. Cummings, who has been making efforts to get Harris released, alleged that the entire case has been politicized.  “This is a misdemeanor and the police sent a whole container of people to Nimba County to arrest this young man for exercising his right to free speech,” Mr. Cummings said.

Cummings, accompanied by his lawyer, had gone to the Monrovia City Court to bail out defendant Harris, only to be informed that Harris had been taken to the Monrovia Central Prison at South Beach.

“Today we showed up with his bond to have him bailed. He was taken to South Beach prison.” ANC political leader said. “This is a minor misdemeanor. It’s a bailable offense, but it has been politicized. We politicize the rule of law and we wonder why we are not getting investors.” 

Mr. Cummings vowed to follow the court procedures. “We are a party of rule of law and we will follow the rules. If the judge doesn’t do the right thing, we will go to the Supreme court,” he said.

Recently there have been several mysterious killings in and around Monrovia, including two women and an elderly man. Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue, said people were posting these pictures to instill fear among citizens and present the country as though it is unsafe. 

“People are portraying the gloomy image of the country as though it is not safe,” he said.  LNP have earlier warned that people caught posting dead pictures on social media to cause fear among the citizenry without investigating will be arrested.

Source: ANC Partisan Jailed for ‘False Alarm’ — but the party says police tramples on his right to speech

and:

Opposition Alternative National Congress’ Youth Official lands in jail for ‘Inciting’ Facebook post

Published: October 6, 2021
By: Joyclyn Weah – Front Page Africa, Liberia

MONROVIA – A stalwart of the Youth League of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), Jethro Saylah Kangar Harris, has been jailed for allegedly circulating false content on social media.

Suspect Jethro Harris was forwarded to the Monrovia City Court on Monday for onward prosecution after being charged by the Liberia National Police (LNP) with the commission of the crime of false public alarms in violation of chapter 17, section 17.4 of the revised Penal Law of Liberia.

On Saturday, the police claimed that suspect Harris posted on his Facebook page, a picture of a young lady he identified as Rolisa N. Gbeintor, a Liberian and alumnae of the Len Miller High School in Sinkor, Monrovia. He placed a corpse that appeared to have gone under post mortem examinations alongside the picture, claiming it was Rolisa’s body and that she has been killed and body parts extracted for ritualistic purposes.

On his Facebook page, he reportedly wrote:

I’m in tears tonight.

It’s so painful how the young people of Liberia are dying mysteriously…

This is the late Rolisa N. Gbeintor, an alumnae of the Len Millar High School…

She was murdered and parts of her body were extracted.

His post immediately caught the attention of the LNP and they launched an investigation to establish its veracity.

Harris was on invited by the LNP for questioning but did not turn out; stating that he was in Ganta, Nimba County. A team of LNP officers headed by assistant commissioner Alphonso A. Paypay, headed to Nimba County on Friday, October 1, and arrested Suspect Harris for “spreading false information to the Liberian public and the world at-large; thus committing the crime false public alarm.”

The police charge sheet claimed that Harris’ post which is established to be unfounded, is also intended to create economic hardship and the likelihood of investors closing down their businesses and leaving the country.

The post, the police maintained, is intended to stall movement of peaceful residents. The document noted that the suspect ‘willingly, purposely and intentionally’ did the Facebook post so as to buttress falsehood already being circulated by some unidentified people that the country is unsafe.

The Police wrote in their charge sheet that the post, which do not have any iota of truth is also intended to put some of citizens and persons residing within Liberia’s borders against the national security apparatus, scare away investors and some people intended to travel to Liberia.

The ANC has condemned the Police action against its partisan, and said it is in gross violation of his constitutional rights.

Article 15 (A) of the Constitution of Liberia provides that every person shall have the right to freedom of expression. However, it adds that they should be held responsible for the abuse of such freedom.

The ANC political leader, Mr. Alexandra Cummings, swam by party executives and supporters, stormed the courtyard but were prevented from securing the release of the suspect, even though the crime he is charged with, is a billable offense.

Speaking to reporters minutes after suspect Harris was taken to the South Beach by heavily guarded armed police officers, Mr. Cummings said that a bond to have their partisan release was made available, but the judge insisted on taking the defendant to jailed.

Cummings termed as unfortunate and unfair, the government’s action against his partisan, noting that government is not being helpful and cooperative by punishing suspect Harris for a social media post.

He further indicated that the judiciary should not be politicized.

“We got to give the judges the freedom to interpret the laws. This is not how we want to run our Judiciary and not how we want to run the country and for the manner of misdemeanor this whole thing is being politicized.” According to him, ANC is an opposition party of law, and as such they will follow the law and ensure that Harris is released.

Source: Opposition Alternative National Congress’ Youth Official Lands in Jail for ‘Inciting’ Facebook Post

And:

Liberia: Alternative National Congress’ Youth released on bail

Published: October 7, 2021
By: Willie N. Tokpah – Front Page Africa, Liberia

Monrovia – The Assistant Secretary General of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), jailed at the Monrovia Central Prison over alleged false public alarm and false statement, was freed on bail on Wednesday amid intense pressure from his party and the campus-based Vanguard Students Unification Party.

Jethro Harris, who had spent four days in prison over a Facebook post in which he alarmed about the ritualistic killing of his ‘friend’, was charged in violation of section 17.4 of the revised Panel Code of Liberia.

His lawyers Atty. Lafayette Gould, Atty. Aloysius Toe and Cllr. Findley Karngar call the charges frivolous. The three lawyers had filed Summary Proceedings against Magistrate Joma Jallah for reportedly refusing to approve their client’s appearance bond after Circuit Judge Roosevelt Willie had heard the petition and ordered Magistrate Jallah to approve the bond in keeping with law. 

However,  more than 24 hours after said mandate, the magistrate later released the defendant to his lawyers Wednesday on bail.

Following his release, Cllr. Toe told journalists that Harris was imprisoned for standing against injustice, adding that said his client is now a free man and will remain free.

However, he noted that the legal battle surrounding Harris’s allegation is expected to take place Friday, noting that no amount it intimidation will make those who are speaking against ills in the country keep silent.

“No no amount of witch-hunt, attempt and decision and no amount of scare tactic will make us to keep silent, neither will the ANC be scare to stand up for a cause,” Cllr. Toe says.

He described the action of Defendant Harris as a “passive resistance”, which he believes is in the right direction.“If any of you will have a sad experience of going to jail because you believe in what is right, and on the account you are arrested, tell other people to stand up for the same thing and let them be arrested, Cllr. Toe says.

Source: Liberia: Alternative National Congress’ Youth Released on Bail

Liberia: contradicting statements on the occurrence of ritual killings; man arrested for the selling of human parts

In Liberia, not only impunity reigns – allowing ritual murderers as well as war criminals to walk free. These days also confusion reigns. What is true of the allegations that there’s a surge in ritual murders? Or is it a conspiracy of political opponents who want to discredit the Weah Administration, already heavily criticized for failing to deliver after the election promises which made tens of thousands of young Liberians to vote for the soccer legend?

Whereas the police downplays the present panic which make Liberians staying home after sunset, it also informed the public that a man was arrested with human parts in his possession, apparently for sale. There is only one explanation for this gruesome discovery: there is a market for human parts in Liberia where some people consider human organs and other human parts essential ingredients of ‘juju’. Every Liberian, Sierra Leonean, Gambian, Ghanian, Nigerian knows what ‘juju’ means.

‘Juju’ is being used either to protect, enrich or empower a person, or to put a magic spell on a known or unknown adversary. Belief in it is widespread in West Africa where ignorance and lack of education are the prime causes of the belief in superstition, facilitated by a weak rule of law and impunity resulting from protection by high-placed people. See also my October 1 post (webmaster FVDK).

Alleged Ritualistic Killings in Liberia: False Alarms Or Poor Investigative Skills?

Published: October 4, 2021
By: Obediah Johnson – Front Page Africa, Liberia 

MONROVIA — It appears that the combat against alleged acts of ritualistic killings and kidnapping which have widely been widely reported in Monrovia and other parts adjacent in recent times are far from being thoroughly investigated, culprits arrested and prosecuted, as evidenced by the Minister of Justice Counselor Frank Musa Dean accusing those raising alarms of reportedly failing to aid investigations.

Liberians and other foreign residents in the country continue to wake up to news of kidnapping and the gruesome murders of citizens, especially females in few communities in Montserrado County on a regular basis.

Parts are extracted from the remains of the victims by the unknown perpetrators for ritualistic purposes.

The current situation has instilled fears in Liberians and foreign residents, compelling them to return from their various working and selling places earlier than before.

It has also raised questions and doubts over the ability of state security actions to provide security to Liberians and other foreign residents.

Not showing up

But responding to an inquiry from FrontPage Africa over the week end, Cllr. Dean pointed out that most of those claiming to have been kidnapped have not been coming forth to help the police with investigations.

He made specific reference to one Solomon, who claimed to have been allegedly kidnapped from Caldwell and taken to Gbartala, Bong County.

Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue recently informed the public that the information provided to the police by Solomon was false and misleading.

Phone records which were subpoenaed by the police show that the alleged victim never left Montserrado County all during his alleged kidnapping tale.

According to the records quoted by the IG, Solomon was in Clara Town, Vai Town, New Kru Town, among other places, throughout during his alleged ordeal.

Opposing Pastor’s request

Cllr. Dean pointed out that since raising the false alarm, Solomon has not shown up despite efforts applied by state investigators to request his Pastor, who was not named, to convince him to do so.

“This guy has refused to come forward to aid the police investigation. We summoned his call log. On the day he should have been in the custody of kidnappers in Gbatala, the call log placed him in Dixville and New Kru Town. We contacted his Pastor to bring him in. He is not cooperating with his Pastor”.

Last week, the Liberia National Police arrested a stalwart of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Jethro Saylah Kangar Harris, for allegedly spreading misinformation of ritualistic killing on Facebook.

FrontPageAfrica gathered that Kangar had reportedly posted a picture of a young girl alongside a picture of an open corpse on an autopsy table.

“I’m in tears tonight. It’s so painful how the young people of Liberia are dying mysteriously. This is the late Rolisa N. Gbeintor, alumnae of the Lenn Millar High School. She was murdered and parts of her body were extracted. She had dreams; she had a great future ahead of her but there she lies dead without understanding how”, Harris posted.

Karnga was arrested in Ganta, Nimba County while on a tour with the ANC’s standard bearer, Alexander B. Cummings. He has spent days behind bars.

Family not identified

But Cllr. Dean latest response to the reported death of Rolisa appears like no formal complaint has been made by the family to the LNP.

“We are searching for the parents and family members of Rolisa Gbeintor, who was supposed to have been gruesomely killed”, Cllr. Dean stated.

Another kidnapping story

In another video that went viral on the social media last week, a young lady claimed that she was allegedly kidnapped by a bike rider and another passenger while on her way Red Light to buy her goods.

According to the unidentified lady, a white handkerchief was used by the passenger who sat at her back and she was taken around the Coca Cola Factory Community in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

She claimed that while her face was tied with a black cloth, she was placed in a black jeep and taken to an unknown destination.

“I saw myself in an unfinished building when they took the cloth from my face and I saw five other women that they kidnapped too. They started to carry them one, one in the slaughter room. I could only hear ‘my people your come, God come for me…they are talking this other parts from on me oh. I was the fifth person and when they carried me in the room, I saw the other table and they had different, different instruments for human parts. They put me on the big table and tore my blouse on me, took off the trouble but my woman sickness (menstruation) was on me”.

“They said but how your bought this chicken here; your know the chicken looking like this and we can’t use it for sacrifice so your put the chicken back outside. That’s how they took me down from the table and carry me back in the room. The other woman too had the same woman sickness on her. So, they said they can’t make sacrifice with us so, let just keep them here and in the night we can go dump them by the wayside. They tied our faces from four in the evening Tuesday with the same black cloth and drove us on the road back in the night. We only saw ourselves in front Coca Cola factory”, the unidentified lady stated.

The lady added that she later decided to take the complaint to Zone 5 in the same area, but since then, she has not been called for further questioning.

Lady escaping?

But according to Cllr. Dean, the lady in question has not shown up for further investigations since she provided her initial statement at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on the Capitol Bye-Pass in Monrovia.

He further doubted the possibility of a slaughterhouse being in the densely populated suburb of Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

“From the day this girl came to the Police Headquarters and provided her initial Statement and said she was going to the doctor to return, she has gone underground. Even her family cannot locate her. Where are the families of the slaughtered people? A human slaughter house in Paynesville, such a populated area?”

Will prosecute PLP suspended SG

Meanwhile, Cllr. Dean has pointed out that the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice will formally charge and prosecute the suspended acting Secretary General of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP) for illegally possessing and discharging firearm.

Executive members of the Organizing Committee of the PLP suspended the acting Secretary General of the party, Mr. David Woods Beyan, for lying that he was shot by unknown armed robbers, after the police preliminary investigation proved otherwise.

It can be recalled that Mr. Beyan, who is also a founding member of the PLP, claimed that around 3AM on Friday, September 24, 2021, he was shot by unknown armed men for unspecified reasons while on his way home from Kakata, Margibi County where he had reportedly gone on a party function and to attend a family meeting

He told FrontPage Africa via telephone that he noticed two motorbikes carrying four persons tailing him from Mount Barclay and while In the middle of the Parker Paint road, one of the riders reportedly crossed in front his vehicle with speed.

Mr. Beyan claimed that he later got down from his vehicle, in an attempt to compel the bike rider to remove his bike. He was later overpowered by the men and shot on his left thigh.

“They had mask on their faces and I couldn’t recognize any of them. After one of them shot me, they got on the motorbikes and escaped. Right now, I am still feeling pain in my thigh” he told FrontPage Africa via telephone from his hospital bed.

But Cllr. Dean pointed out that the victim shot himself.

His clarification corroborates with information provided by IG Sudue when he appeared on State radio on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.

Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue disclosed that Mr. Beyan told nurses assigned at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center where he had gone for treatment that he mistakenly shot himself in the leg, and the firearm used has been retrieved.

 “This guy shot himself. He carried a weapon he did not know how to operate. We will prosecute him for illegal possession and discharge of firearm” Cllr. Dean stated.

Ghost town

The growing wave of reported kidnapping and ritualistic killings across Monrovia and other parts of the country continue to instill fears in citizens and foreign residents

In Monrovia and other parts adjacent, the streets appear like a “ghost town” and are partially empty as a result of the situation.

Marketers, workers and others are often seen in a hurry during the early evening hours, abroading commercial or private vehicles, tricycles and motorbikes to reach to their respective homes or destinations in a timely manner.

Owners of various businesses, including shops, stores, and supermarkets are constrained to shutdown far sooner than their usual closing times due to the growing wave of insecurity in the post-conflict nation.

It remains unclear whether or not fears of the growing wave of insecurity in Liberia will continue to grapple economic activities or the free movement of citizens and others as state security actors continues to allow those raising alarms to cajole them by giving or falsifying stories that would allow them to escape from investigations.

State actors’ failure

The failure of state security actors, particularly investigators of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to implore additional skills to unearth the truth behind some of these reported kidnapping and ritualistic killings or intensify efforts to hunt and bring forth for investigations those involved or accused remain a major problem confronting the security sector.

On the other hand, the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministries of Justice and Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism has not been able to swiftly and adequately respond to videos or photos on kidnapping and ritualistic killings before it goes viral on the social media by critics of the regime, who normally share those videos or photos to satisfy their political or ulterior motives.

This continues to hamper and paint the image, particularly the security condition of Liberia bad to the outside world, especially foreign investors contemplating on coming into the country to do businesses.

Source: Alleged Ritualistic Killings in Liberia: False Alarms Or Poor Investigative Skills?

And:

Police probe man who confessed to ritualistic activities

Published: October 4, 2021
By: Lincoln G. Peters – The New Dawn, Edited by Winston W. Parley

The Liberia National Police (LNP) says it has arrested and is investigating a 22 – year -old man for his alleged confession of being involved in the kidnapping and selling of human parts across the country.

Suspect Gbala Samula was arrested Saturday, 2 October 2021 in VOA Community, Brewerville, Montserrado County, by the Zone 6 police detachment for allegedly confessing that he has negotiated to sell human parts to a funeral home based in the VOA Community around the beachside.

The accused was not arrested with human parts, but trading in human parts could be considered ritualistic activity.

Confirming the arrest and investigation of suspect Samula, Police Spokesman Moses Carter told our reporter in a telephone conversation Sunday, 3 October that police are having the suspect in their custody for investigation over his alleged role in the kidnap and selling of human parts.

According to Carter, the suspect allegedly told the police that he was convinced by his friend to join him in the kidnapping of human beings and selling of human parts across the country, on grounds that it has money. Carter said the suspect did not name the friend, neither did he state where the friend was residing.

The police spokesman explained further that the funeral home that the suspect, Samula referenced has denied his allegations, saying it is in no business of buying human parts.

Carter refused to disclose the name of the funeral home but pointed out that police are investigating the suspect and if he fails to provide his colleagues and other information, he will be jailed for spreading falsehood and causing panic in the country.

But speaking in a live interview with local broadcaster Voice of Liberia (VOL) Saturday, 2 October 2021 at the Zone 6 police detachment in Brewerville, suspect Samula said he came from Sawelor Town in Grand Cape Mouth County and to live with his big brother in Brewerville, VOA Community.

Suspect Samula narrated that he was engaged by a guy who had proposed that they should sell human beings to get money.

Source: Police probe man who confessed to ritualistic activities

And:

As Police Vows To Arrest Alarming Posters On Social Media, Man Arrested For Alleged Ritualistic Activities

Published: October 4, 2021
By: Cholo Brooks – GNN, Liberia

Barely a week now since the leadership of the Liberia National Police (LNP) vowed to bring to book of those who post on social media of mysterious killings and disappearances, latest report being highlighted in the media over the weekend has indicated that the police has arrested and is investigating a 22 – year -old man for his alleged confession of being involved in the kidnapping and selling of human parts across the country.

Suspect Gbala Samula was arrested Saturday, 2 October 2021 in VOA Community, Brewerville, Montserrado County, by the Zone 6 police detachment for allegedly confessing that he has negotiated to sell human parts to a funeral home based in the VOA Community around the beachside.

The accused was not arrested with human parts, but trading in human parts could be considered ritualistic activity.

Confirming the arrest and investigation of suspect Samula, Police Spokesman Moses Carter told our reporter in a telephone conversation Sunday, 3 October that police are having the suspect in their custody for investigation over his alleged role in the kidnap and selling of human parts.

According to Carter, the suspect allegedly told the police that he was convinced by his friend to join him in the kidnapping of human beings and selling of human parts across the country, on grounds that it has money. Carter said the suspect did not name the friend, neither did he state where the friend was residing.

The police spokesman explained further that the funeral home that the suspect, Samula referenced has denied his allegations, saying it is in no business of buying human parts.

Carter refused to disclose the name of the funeral home but pointed out that police are investigating the suspect and if he fails to provide his colleagues and other information, he will be jailed for spreading falsehood and causing panic in the country.

But speaking in a live interview with local broadcaster Voice of Liberia (VOL) Saturday, 2 October 2021 at the Zone 6 police detachment in Brewerville, suspect Samula said he came from Sawelor Town in Grand Cape Mouth County and to live with his big brother in Brewerville, VOA Community.

Suspect Samula narrated that he was engaged by a guy who had proposed that they should sell human beings to get money.

In a related development, the Liberia National Police says it has begun investigating social media false alarm posters, noting that it  has been drawn to the constant habit of some unscrupulous citizens who are bent on posting false alarm information intended to instill fear in citizens and residents of the country.

These false alarm posters are posting horrible photos and videos of fake incidents which are solely intended to portray the country as unsafe and instill fear in the citizenry of the country.

Hence, LNP investigators with immediate effect have been mandated by the Inspector General of Police, Hon. Patrick Sudue to ensure that the social media is monitored regularly and that those who post information aimed at creating fear must be invited for questioning and subsequent prosecution if probable cause is established.

The LNP admonishes administrators of various social media chatrooms to scrutinize information that is placed in their various chatrooms and report those who are in the constant habit of posting said information.

The LNP will not hesitate to ensure that administrators of chatrooms who do not exercise due diligence in the contents that are posted on their various platforms are invited for questioning.

To this end, the LNP envisages that a proper scrutiny of various information placed in chatrooms by administrators will curtail the barrage of inciteful and fearful photos and videos that are circulating on social media.

Together, we can help to make Liberia a better and peaceful nation for all.  It press release issued by H. Moses Carter, Sr., Head Press and Public Affairs  Liberia National Police (U-122)  Tel: 0770800122, noted

Source: As Police Vows To Arrest Alarming Posters On Social Media, Man Arrested For Alleged Ritualistic Activities

Liberia: growing anxiety over ritual killings and the political fallout from the recent surge in ritualistic murders

Liberia is again in the grip of ritualistic murders. An alarming wave of insecurity terrorizes the population. Reportedly, secret and ritualistic murders are being committed. The Liberia National Police is pressed by the public to do more. President Weah is being asked to address the nation and speak out against these heinous crimes, which are far from uncommon in Liberia.

In the past, ambitious politicians have been found involved in ritualistic activities including murder. The presidential elections of 2023 are still far away but politicians and their supporters are already preparing for a fierce election campaign. Moreover, on November 16 of this year, by-elections will be held in Bomi, Bong, Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties to fill the vacancies in the House of Representatives following the election of Representatives in the Senate in December 2020.  

The combined opposition – the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) including the ANC, ALP, UP and the LP – has to come to grips with the internal battle for a unique, common presidential candidate for the 2023 elections if it wants to defat the incumbent president.  However, its political leaders: ANC leader Alexander Cummings, the UP candidate and former Vice President Joseph Boakai, ALP’s Benoni Urey and Grand Bassa County Senator and political leader of Liberty Party, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, are not on the same line when it comes to a common candidate.

The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change is also far from homogeneous. The coalition is composed of Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change plus the National Patriotic Party of warlord-turned-into-president Charles Taylor, now led by one of his ex-wives, Jewel Howard Taylor, currently Vice President in the Weah Administration, and the Liberian People Democratic Party of the corrupt and for this reason disgraced former House Speaker Alex Tyler. It is a public secret that relations between the Present and his Vice President are far from harmonious.

The foregoing does not pretend to provide an answer to the question why there’s currently a surge in ritualistic killings in Liberia – assuming that reports of a surge in ritual murders are not unfounded. Moreover, as one newspaper commented, ‘There is speculation that the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.’ 

The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Colonel Patrick Sudue, has labelled the reports on ritualistic murders as fake news, accusing the opposition of tarnishing the good reputation of the Weah Administration. In sharp contrast, however, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor publicly disagreed with him, pleading for an end to the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.

Be that as it may, Liberia’s human rights reputation, which wasn’t that good anyway, is being further damaged by these reports of ritualistic and secret killings whereas critics  of president Weah who accuse him of inaction will be more convinced than ever that he is not the right man in the right place. 

As an observer of Liberian politics since the 1970s I’m afraid that this is not the end of the story…

To be continued (webmaster FVDK).

Public anxiety over ritual killings increases; President Weah must address the nation and speak out on the scourge of ritualistic killings in Liberia

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Editorial Board, Front Page Africa, Liberia 

THE SPATE OF KILLINGS for ritual purposes is gradually assuming an alarming rate in Liberia with little or no effort by government of President George Weah to checkmate the trend.

OFFICIAL STATISTICS indicate that there has been an increase in the number of missing persons all over the country in recent times. Some are found, while others are not. 

THERE IS SPECULATION that the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.

ONE WOULD HAVE expected such acts to be a thing of the past following decades of civil war in Liberia which claimed the lives of over 150, 000 people, and made hundreds of thousands became refugees throughout the region. 

BUT SADLY murdering people to appease the deities appears to be on the increase in Liberia.

THESE RITUALISTS hide under different covers to get their victims. For some, they kidnap their victims from various points, while others who pretend to be commercial drivers, pick unsuspecting commuters at bus-stop only to take them to their slaughter slabs to carry out what they know how to do best.

RECENTLY, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.

A DAY EARLIER, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, the perpetrators have not been arrested.

GIVEN THE RATE of increase of ritual killings in Liberia, no one is immune from becoming a victim. But some people are at greater risk. People with mental illnesses and virgins are unique targets as the ritualists allegedly believe that their eccentrics and purity make for a more viable sacrifice. 

ALSO, PEOPLE living with albinism have equally become victims of ritual killings, fuelled by the belief that their ‘body parts’ could allegedly make one wealthy or prolong one’s life.

IT IS DISHEARTENING to point out that as developed countries invest in science and technology to keep abreast with a dynamic world, Liberia is still stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood is the surest route to wealth, safety, and protection.

IT’S TIME the government of President Weah play a more active role in ameliorating the negative impact of these dastardly acts?

POVERTY AND ECONOMIC hardship in the country are reasons for ritual killings. However, these are not justifiable reasons to commit ritual murder. Impunity encourages ritualists to commit murders because they believe they will not be apprehended or punished.

ANOTHER REASON for ritual murders is the collapse in our moral values, ignorance and superstition, and lack of an adequate punishment system. 

WE SHOULD also consider poverty and unemployment as significant risk factors. If Liberians have equal opportunities to earn income legitimately, there will be a reduction in horrific crimes such as banditry and human killings for ritual.

THE HIGH INCIDENCE of serial ritual killings in Liberia demands an urgent action at the level of the government of President Weah.

TO CURB THE INCREASE in ritual killings, government should thoroughly explore the intelligence-gathering approach. Timely arrest and prosecution of arrested suspects would serve as a deterrent to anybody contemplating perpetrating ritual killing.

RECORD OF SUCCESSFUL prosecution of ritualists is not in the public domain. When there are no consequences for deviant behavior, it is incentivized.

THE CONSCIENCE of Liberians are being troubled by reports of recent ritual murders including that of  those whose body parts were ripped out for ritual purposes.

LIBERIANS SEEM to be rapidly losing faith in the ability of President Weah and his government to detect and punish ritual killers, and it’s time President Weah act to address the scourge in ritualistic activities in Liberia.

THE SOONER, the better..

Source: President Weah Must Address the Scourge of Ritualistic Killings in Liberia

and:

A heartbreaking plea to political parties, religious and civil society leaders

Just where is our President and why has he maintained such a conspicuous silence in the face of mounting cries of the people craving the intervention of the state to protect their lives?

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Staff Editor – The Daily Observer, Liberia

This is a plea to Civil Society, Religious Leaders and political parties, especially the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), to act in concert and speak with one voice on the deteriorating security situation in the country. Every God-sent day is replete with accounts of mysterious and brutal killing of peaceful citizens apparently for ritualistic purposes.

This is also a plea to civil society and their respective organizations to become seized of the current situation and also speak with one voice on the current situation. From all indications, this government is failing to protect the people and this does not augur well for peace and national security.

We say this because there is an inherent danger in allowing things to deteriorate to the point where ordinary citizens begin to take action to protect themselves from harm. Judging from reports, it appears that females are being particularly targeted but in the face of such assaults against our women, especially, not a word has been heard from the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) and the same goes for other women groups.

Religious leaders, Muslim as well as Christian, etc., have also failed to take up the issue as a matter of priority concern. Innocent children of God are being slaughtered like animals, but the voices of our religious leaders have either been silent or at best feeble. Just where are our so-called men of God in the face of such brutal onslaught against the children of God, one is tempted to ask.

More importantly, just where is our President and why has he maintained such a conspicuous silence in the face of mounting cries of the people craving the intervention of the state to protect their lives? The Police have not proved very helpful in the eyes of the public. 

Such displayed ineptitude by the Liberia National Police (LNP) in addressing urgent security concerns of the people is leaving most people with the impression that the rise in ritualistic killings and other forms of violence is linked to top officials of this government. In their view, this is why such killings continue to happen despite massive public outcry.

In such situations, opposition political parties, religious leaders and civil society organizations are usually looked up to for help and guidance. But to the disappointment of the public, they also seem to appear helpless to deal with the situation. Whether their inaction is borne out of fear and trepidation, or out of a desire to ingratiate themselves into the good favors of the President, remains unclear.

For now, it is basically the media which has inadvertently found itself thrust into the fore to speak out on behalf of a seemingly helpless people. Their efforts are indeed commendable but grossly insufficient without the active support of civil society, including political parties and religious organizations. They cannot afford to wait until things run out of hand before they can muster the courage to step up to the plate.

For the past few weeks, the media has been awash with reports of the ongoing feud within the CPP, which has been touted as the last bastion capable of restoring hope of Liberians for sustainable peace and giving the people some respite from the suffering and hardships being experienced under the leadership of the Coalition for Democratic Change.

This coalition composed of the National Patriotic Party of disgraced and imprisoned war convict Charles Taylor, and the Liberian People Democratic Party of disgraced former House Speaker Alex Tyler, was hailed by its supporters as the answer to Liberia’s problems, following President Weah’s selection of Charles Taylor’s ex-wife Jewel Howard Taylor as Vice President. 

Under the rule of her ex-husband Taylor, Liberia became a pariah state largely as a result of runaway corruption and the massive and egregious human rights abuses committed under his watch by his security forces.

But those very vices that eventually led to Taylor’s disgraceful exit from power and subsequent trial and conviction on war crimes, appear to have now taken center-stage under the current ruling Coalition. In the face of this, civil society, including political parties especially the CPP, appear to have their attention fixed elsewhere. The CPP, for example, finds itself locked in a bitter and seemingly unending internecine feud.

Whether ANC leader Alexander Cummings and UP leader and former Vice President Joseph Boakai will find common ground on the question of who has the popularity and political strength to lead the Collaboration to elections in 2023 is anyone’s guess.

While Joseph Boakai appears to enjoy overwhelming support in vote-rich Lofa County, the same cannot be said of Alexander Cummings in any county including his home country Maryland. It may therefore be suicidal were he to quit the CPP to go it alone. And apparently he realizes this and such could be reasons why he has declared that leaving the CPP is a non-option.

Similarly, it can be said that it would be suicidal for Joseph Boakai to leave the CPP to go it alone. Both individuals appear hopelessly stuck together with each wanting out, but too timid to make the break for fear of the consequences. But the Liberian people cannot forever wait for justice, neither can they forever wait on the government to bring ritualistic killings to an end.

This can perhaps explain why there are increasing calls from the public for the reintroduction of the Death Penalty to serve as deterrent to would be ritual killers. They point to the United States of America, the foremost global champion of Human Rights, which still maintains the Death Penalty without censure from international human rights institutions. Then, why not Liberia, they ask.     

And their point of reference is the 1977 trial, conviction and public hanging, in Harper, Maryland County of several individuals including a former Superintendent involved in the ritual murder of Moses Tweh, a popular folk singer, which put a stop to ritual killings in that country for a long period.

Source: A Plea to Political Parties, Religious Leaders and Leaders of Civil Society

PS Note of the webmaster: For a detailed overview of the arrest and trial of the defendants accused of the ritual killing of Moses Tweh, see: ‘The Maryland Ritual Murders – Liberia’s most notorious ritual killing case‘. Warning: some readers may find the graphic contents, description of the ritual murder and the accompanying pictures disturbing (FVDK). 

The 7 convicted ritual killers who were sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Moses Tweh: Allen Yancy, James Anderson, Francis Nyepan, Philip Seton, Wreh Taryonnoh, Putu Dweh and Thomas Barclay.
For more information click here 
The public execution took place in Harper, Maryland County, on February 16, 1979

More recent articles:

Liberia National Police Inspector General says reports of ritualistic killings, disappearances are fake news and intended to malign government’s image

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Willie N. Tokpah – Front Page Africa, Liberia

Monrovia — In recent months, reported cases of ritual killings have surged in Liberia, but the country’s Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue and his deputy Prince Mulbah say such reports are untrue and being fueled by opposition politicians to tarnish the image of the government.

Sudue and Mulbah, at a news conference Wednesday, disclosed that the police are only aware of a single ritualistic incident, which occurred in MaryLand County recently, adding the perpetrators are facing justice.

“People are being paid to tarnish the image of the country and to raise false national security alert. There are inconsistencies in their statements,” Sudue says.

Meanwhile, Mulbah, Deputy Police Inspector General for Administration, described information about ritualistic killings in the country as a ploy designed by the opposition to create fear for diaspora Liberians who want to return home.

“As far our investigations are concerned, we haven’t established anything called ritualistic killing apart from what happened in Maryland County,” Mulbah says.

“We have heard a lot of people talking on social media of people being kidnapped and taken away, these are paid agents.”  

A rising number of mutilated bodies on streets in Monrovia and other parts of the country this year has sown fear in Liberians.

Recently, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.

A day earlier, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, perpetrators have not been arrested.

Liberians have taken to social media to raise alarm about the rise in ritual activities, urging commuters to always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles as they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. 

But Sudue said most of these social media pictorials and videos about ritualistic incidents are not a representation of what is unfolding in the country.

He warned those involved in orchestrating a negative image about the country to desist, or face the full weight of the law.

The rise in ritualistic killings has claimed the attention of opposition political leaders, who are calling on President George Weah to redirect every penny he intends to spend on his 55th birthday celebrations on Friday, October 1.

Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Wednesday said the country is fast becoming a cesspool of crime ranging from these mysterious killings, armed robbery, drug dealing, and money laundering.

“This is in addition to the numerous past mysterious deaths of the auditors, the missing boys and other violent crimes that are yet to be investigated or the perpetrators found,” he says.

“It is clear that our security sector is under-staffed, under-paid and overwhelmed. This can not continue. I am calling on the President to redirect every penny he intends to spend on his elaborate and glamorous birthday celebration, into the security sector. We need to empower our community policing and night patrol and strengthen community vigilante groups to work with the Police in each community. This should include the distribution of basic materials and basic training. We need to also investigate these crimes with a sense of urgency and bring perpetrators to justice. The government needs to get to work.”

Grand Bassa County Senator and political leader of Liberty Party, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, who’s in the United States of America, said she would start a women movement against the ritualistic killings of children, mothers and sisters, brothers and  husbands upon her return to Liberia.

Sen. Karnga-Lawrence called on all women to rise up and ensure that the serial killings are brought to an end. “The voices of women must be heard at every level, from the vice president down. This must stop, our survival is at stake and Liberia must be safe for all of us,” Sen. Karnga-Lawrence says.

Dr. Daniel E. Cassel of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), whose secretary general, David Beyan, was reportedly shot by unknown gunmen, called on the government of President George Weah to address the issue of ritualistic killings in the country. 

“This is the time for President Weah to act quickly and bring an end to the end to the rise in ritualistic killings,” Dr. Cassel says.

Reacting to the reported shooting incident of Beyan, Sudue rejected claims that the PLP secretary general was shot by unknown gunmen.

He claimed Beyan lied about being shot infront of his fence when medical records showed that he (Beyan) told doctors that he shot by himself.

“I think if this young man would have killed himself, the whole country would say it is the government that killed him. He lied about being shot,” Sudue says.

Sudue claimed a shell from a firearm was seen in Beyan’s vehicle, which confirmed medical records that he shot himself.

After being thoroughly quizzed about the situation, coupled with medical proof, Beyan couldn’t lie, Sudue said.

“He told us that he criminally and knowingly took the weapon from residence as far as 20 Street and then to Soul Clinic community to hide the weapon,” Sudue claimed.

However, he said the police are in possession of a weapon by Beyan as he undergoes investigation at the Police headquarters in Monrovia.

“We will prosecute him for illegal possession of firearm and raising false alarm to security apparatus.”

At the same time, Inspector General Sudue has disclosed that the LNP has increased its patrols in major streets and communities, and has begun vigorous search and inspection operations to combat crimes in the country.

He said the LNP will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the country is stable and peaceful and that citizens are protected.

Source: Liberia: Inspector General of Police Says Multiple Reports of Ritualistic Killings, Disappearances Are Fake News Intended to Malign Government’s Image

And:

Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor disagrees with Liberia National Police Inspector General  that opposition is responsible for reports of ritualistic killings

Published: September 29, 2021
By: Henry Karmo – Front Page Africa, Liberia 

MONROVIA – Vice president Jewel Howard has joined the many voices of Liberians calling for an end to the mysterious killings of Liberians and wants those in authority of the security to take action that would end the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.

In an interview with reporters, Liberia’s Vice President said, women in Liberia are feeling more insecure   than ever before in the history of Liberia. She placed more emphasis on the mysterious deaths of women for ritualistic purposes.

“I like to call upon our security sector to please put in place a regime that will enable our people to remain safe. The situation involves instances where women’s private parts are being cutoff, stories of young people being taken in specific location where others allegedly were being used for ritualistic purposes are very alarming.”

The VP also expressed hopes that in this 21st century, it will be easy for security apparatus to discover and arrest people involved in such killings of Liberians for the purpose of ritualistic killings because these acts have far reaching negative implication for the peace and security of Liberia and the investment climate.

Madam Taylor: “As far as I know, Government’s responsibility is to provide the peace and security of its people, that is why we have the different security apparatus of our country. If this was just one case people will want to wait but it is alarming; every single morning there is a report of a dead body somewhere.

“In a country like Liberia, such a thing that is happening should not be happening, so I believe we should call on all of our security forces to do more.”

 The VP also told reporters that complaints from the police and other security entities about the lack of logistic should not be an excuse, because that is a responsibility they have taken.  “The police should be more vigilant if it requires bringing in the army, we should do that because it is alarming,” she said.

She also seems to have a different belief to that of many, especially those in government, who think the alarming rate of mysterious deaths is a strategy implored by the opposition to make the state ungovernable for the ruling CDC.

According to her, such portrayal of what is happening is hard to believe because nobody will want to kill innocent Liberians because they want to make Liberia ungovernable.   

“If an opposition or politicians do that, it will be ungovernable for everyone. If we are the sitting government we must now do more to make sure that whatever is happening will be brought to an end. This is a planned act carried out by some group of people.”

Source: Liberia: VP Taylor Differs Calls on Police to Take Charge; Disagrees that Opposition is Responsible for Reports of Ritualistic Killings

Finally:

Federation of Liberian Youth condemns series of secret & ritualistic killings

Published: September 29, 2021
By: Press Release – Front Page Africa, Liberia

MONROVIA – The Federation of Liberian Youth said it is troubling the alarming wave of insecurity currently existing in Liberia.

The group through its President Amos Williams said the terrifying decline in national security is worrisome and needs to be addressed.

Mr. Williams said the growing waves of recent ritualistic and series of secret killings have the propensity to undermine the current and uninterrupted peace which the general population has enjoyed for over fifteen years now.

As a means of addressing the issue, FLY has therefore called on the attention of President George Weah including the Ministry of Justice and the Liberian National Police (LNP) to promptly act in addressing decisively the current state of insecurity by providing safety and security to all citizens and foreign residents alike in the borders of Liberia. 

Mr. Williams at the same time encouraged all citizens to be supportive and attentive in providing any important information which can be used by national security apparatus in accordance with the growing waves of insecurities in the country.

In a move to practically address the issue, FLY wants the Government to acknowledge the issue of insecurity in the Land and address it hands down.

Source: FLY Condemns Series Of Secret & Ritualistic Killings

Liberia – political map

Another muti murder in South Africa? Child murder accused described as ‘quiet and reserved’

Warning: some of the articles below contain graphic details of the crime (webmaster FVDK).

Child murder accused described as ‘quiet and reserved’

Amanda Zitho, L, the mother of Mzwandile Zitho, 05, who was killed in Orange Farm about 2 weeks ago. PHOTO : ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

Published: April 29, 2020
By: The Sowetan – Tankiso Makhetha

The woman accused of killing a five-year-old boy whose body was found in a local tavern has been described as a quiet and reserved person.

This was a sentiment shared by community members at Mzwandile Zitho’s funeral yesterday in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg.

Mzwandile was allegedly murdered by Pontso Mohlanka who appeared in the Vereeniging magistrate’s court yesterday where she is facing a charge of murder.

Her matter was postponed until May 15 when her bail application is expected to be heard. The matter was also postponed to allow the state to verify Mohlanka’s nationality with the department of home affairs.

She was initially arrested with her partner and tavern owner, who was not formally charged due to insufficient evidence.

“We are still dumbstruck by what happened. It’s hard to make sense of the whole thing because she is the last person who we thought would be charged for Wandi’s murder,” said Petunia Nkwanyane, a resident in the area.

She spoke to Sowetan at Mzwandile’s Orange Farm home, moments after his burial. The deceased’s home is just across the street from the tavern where the body was discovered on April 15.

The tavern house, now a crime scene, is sealed off with police tape.

Mzwandile’s body was found in an upright position in a fridge, with his hands and feet tied.

According to residents, he also had a red rope around his neck which had small packets containing a powdery substance.

“The only time we saw anyone there was when the tavern owner’s sister came to fetch something while the couple was in jail. We know that the owner was released from jail but we don’t know where he is,” Nkwanyane said.

Another neighbour, Phindi Majola, said Mzwandile’s mysterious death had enraged the community which wanted to burn down the tavern.

“Everyone was upset because of the way Mzwandile was killed. People wanted to burn the house when the police were done with their work because they suspected that Mzwandile was killed in a muthi ritual,” Majola said.

She said she was familiar with Mohlanka, with whom she interacted while peeling vegetables at homes preparing for funerals in the area.

“She is so quiet and shy. I am familiar with her; we talk a lot when we peel vegetables for funerals here,” she said.

Mzwandile was buried at De Deur Memorial Park near Vereeniging. His distraught father, Simphiwe Mosala, said: “I just want to know why he was killed. He was an innocent boy who had so much potential. We want justice; we are also grateful to everyone who has shown us support.”

Source: Child murder accused described as ‘quiet and reserved’

Related articles:

Woman charged after senseless killing of five-year-old boy

Five-year old Mzwandile Zitho was reported missing by his grandmother on Wednesday. 
Image: Supplied

Published: April 20, 2020
By: The Sowetan – Tankiso Makhetha

A woman has been charged with the murder of a five-year-old boy who was found killed in a tavern in Orange Farm last week.

Pontso Mohlanka appeared in the Vereeniging regional court on Monday where she was charged with Mzwandile Zitho’s murder.

Phindi Mjonondwane, the National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesperson said the matter was postponed until Wednesday for further investigations.

“The matter was also postponed to set a date for the bail application hearing,” Mjonondwane said.

The woman was arrested along with her husband at the tavern, which is located less than 30 metres from Zitho’s home.

“Charges against the man were not placed on the roll as there is currently no prima facie case against him,” she said.

Zitho was found in an upright position with his legs tied and a red rope around his neck in what his family believes was a muthi killling.

Zitho’s grandmother Nompumelelo Zitho previously told Sowetan how she frantically searched for her grandson last Wednesday with the tavern owner allegedly telling her not to worry when she asked him if he had seen Mzwandile.

“I was worried sick because I didn’t know where he was. I started searching for him and asked the owner of the tavern if he had seen Wandi and he said no. He said Wandi was a smart boy and would return home,” she recalled Wednesday’s events.

Zitho said the tavern owner assisted them to search for Mzwandile and went as far as sending one of his employees into a neighbouring township.

“He was telling me not to go to the police station and that we would find Wandi by the end of the day. He was so reassuring, but I was concerned and wanted to find my grandson,” she said.

Zitho said after several hours of searching, she then went to the police station to report Mzwandile missing.”Four hours after our conversations, I was shocked when I arrived at the police station to report Wandi missing, only to find him [tavern owner] there. 

“He told us that he had found Wandi’s body in his tavern and did not know how it got there,” Zitho said.

“I feel betrayed because he was one of the first people to start a search party for Wandi when I told him he was missing.

“He didn’t tell me that my grandson was in his tavern the whole time we were looking for him. He said he also didn’t know that Wandi was there.”

Zitho said she was heartbroken because she raised Mzwandile since he was five months old. She recalled the condition in which they found Mzwandile’s body.

“He was standing upright, there was a red rope with small papers containing powdery substances attached to it. His legs were also tied with a handkerchief with a small bottle containing white muthi attached to it.

“It is as if he was a sacrifice.”He was an active child and full of energy. He would say to me that he wanted to be a priest because he was tired of seeing me take a taxi to church. He said he would take me to church with his own car.”

Source: Woman charged after senseless killing of five-year-old boy

and:

Tavern owner and wife arrested for boy’s murder

Nompumelelo Zitho , the grandmother of 5 year old child, Mwzandile Zitho, killed in Orange Farm, Johannesburg . PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

Published: April 20, 2020
By: The Sowetan Live, South Africa – Tankiso Makhetha 

The tavern owner who helped the family of a five-year-old boy to search for him after he went missing last week has been arrested for the child’s murder.

Mzwandile Zitho’s grandmother Nompumelelo Zitho recalled how she frantically searched for her grandson in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday with the tavern owner allegedly telling her not to worry when she asked him if he had seen Mzwandile.

“I was worried sick because I didn’t know where he was. I started searching for him and asked the owner of the tavern if he had seen Wandi and he said no. He said Wandi was a smart boy and would return home,” she recalled Wednesday’s events.

Zitho said the tavern owner assisted them to search for Mzwandile and went as far as sending one of his employees into a neighbouring township.

“He was telling me not to go to the police station and that we would find Wandi by the end of the day. He was so reassuring, but I was concerned and wanted to find my grandson,” she said.

Zitho said after hours of searching, she then went to the police station to report Mzwandile missing.

“Four hours after our conversations, I was shocked when I arrived at the police station to report Wandi missing, only to find him [tavern owner] there. He told us that he had found Wandi’s body in his tavern and did not know how it got there,” Zitho said.

Mzwandile was found in an upright position with his legs tied and a red rope around his neck in what his family believes was a muthi killling.

Provincial police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele said the tavern owner’ and his wife were arrested on Friday and are expected to appear in the Vereeniging magistrate’s court today on charges of kidnapping and murder.

“I feel betrayed because he was one of the first people to start a search party for Wandi when I told him he was missing.

“He didn’t tell me that my grandson was in his tavern the whole time we were looking for him.

“He said he also didn’t know that Wandi was there.”

Zitho said she was heartbroken because she raised Mzwandile since he was five months old.

She recalled the condition in which they found Mzwandile’s body.

Source: Tavern owner and wife arrested for boy’s murder

and:

Boy’s body found in Orange Farm tavern fridge

Published: April 17, 2020
By: The Sowetan Live, South Africa – Tankiso Makhetha 

A five-year-old boy was found dead in a tavern in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday, in what his family and community suspect was a muti-related murder.

Mzwandile Zitho was reported missing by his grandmother on the same day.

Residents said they were shocked by the gruesome discovery of his body in a fridge.

Anna Makhubu, who was one of the first people to enter the tavern where Mzwandile’s body was found, said: “His grandmother said she grew worried when she could not find him around the yard at 10am. She said he was still in his pyjamas when he went missing.

“She asked the tavern owner, who lives across from them, if he had seen Mzwandile. He said no. But she was shocked to find him at the police station as well.”

According to Makhubu, the tavern owner told the police he did not know how the boy’s body ended up on his property.

“He said he doesn’t know how the body got there and wanted to help. When we got there we found Mzwandile naked, standing in an upright position. His hands and feet were bound. There was muthi bottles and a handkerchief that had small ropes in it.”

Makhubu said she was heartbroken as she raised Mzwandile since he was five months old.

“He was an active child and full of energy. He would say to me that he wanted to be a priest because he was tired of seeing me take a taxi to church. He said he would take me to church in his own car.”

ANC branch chairperson in the area, Macy Monageng, said: “We are hurt because we are in a lockdown and then this happens. We thought children and women abuse would end in this situation but clearly not. The law needs to take its course.”

Police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele said they were investigating a case of murder and that no arrests have been made.

Source: Boy’s body found in Orange Farm tavern fridge

and:

Boy found dead in tavern fridge

Five-year old Mzwandile Zitho was reported missing by his grandmother on Wednesday. 

Published: April 16, 2020
By: The Sowetan Live – Tankiso Makhetha 

A five-year-old boy was found dead in a tavern in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg on Wednesday in what the community suspects was a muthi-related murder.

Mzwandile Zitho was reported missing by his grandmother on the same day. Community members said they were shocked by the gruesome discovery.

Anna Makhubu, who was one of the first people to enter the tavern where Zitho’s body was found, said: “His grandmother said she grew worried when she could not find him around the yard at 10am”. 

She said he was still in his pyjamas when he went missing. Makhubu added: “She asked the tavern owner, who lives across from them, if he had seen Mzwandile. He said no. But she was shocked to find him at the police station as well.”

According to Makhubu, the tavern owner told the police he did not know how the boy’s body ended up on his property.

“He said he doesn’t know how the body got there and wanted to help. When we got there we found Mzwandile naked, standing in an upright position. His hands and feet were bound. There was muthi bottles and a handkerchief that had small ropes in it,” she said.

Macy Monageng, ANC branch chairperson in the area, said: “We are hurt because we in a lockdown and then this happens… a naked boy in a fridge? We thought child and woman abuse would end in this situation but clearly not. The law needs to take its course.”Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said they were investigating a case of murder.

Source: Boy found dead in tavern fridge

South Africa – Provinces