Due to circumstances I haven’t posted any article on this site for nearly four weeks. The reason for this silence on my part was certainly not the lack of ritual murder cases reported in this period. In the past four weeks African newspapers reported on ritual murder cases and related ritualistic acts in a number of SSA countries, notably in the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe (in chronological order), with Nigeria leading this ugly list and Zimbabwe ranking second.
Having said this, two observations merit specific mentioning. First, as the list shows, the countries mentioned are all English-speaking countries (a heritage of their colonial past). This creates a distortion in the observation or analysis with a bias creating the impression that in non-anglophone countries ritual murders would not occur. Far from that! It is just a consequence of the fact that the collection of articles and reports on these heinous acts based on superstition is too narrow based. I have also reported this problem in a distinct section of this site (see under ‘Methodology’).
Secondly, and as I have also repeatedly stated on this site, we must fear that reported ritual killing cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Many cases of disappeared children, men and women remain unresolved, the bodies of the victims have successfully been hidden by the murderers. The effort of perpetrators to wipe out all traces of their crimes reveals an important aspect of nowadays ritualistic murders. The murderers know very well that their act is illegal, and constitutes one of the worst crimes one can imagine: to take the life of an innocent person for personal gains. Ritualistic acts may have been based originally – in the past – on traditional beliefs serving the interests of a community, in the course of the 20th century these practices have become criminal activities fed by a desire to become rich, famous or another selfish goal.
Previous posts related to the murder of Mordecious Nyemah, who was the victim of a ritual murder on March 25, have been published on April 3, 5 and 22.
Last Saturday, May 15, Maryland County’s Superintendent, George A. Prowd, spoke memorable words at the funeral of the late Mordecious Nyemah. Prowd mentioned Maryland’s bad reputation as ‘Gboyo-business’ is concerned and more specifically he referred to one of his predecessors who was publicly hanged after being found guilty of a ritualistic murder. Superintendent James Anderson was one of seven convicts who were publicly executed at dawn in February 1979, a memorable event which made history as ‘The Hanging of the Harper Seven’. (NB Superintendent Prowd inadvertently called his condemned predecessor Allen Yancy. Yancy was one of the hanged Harper Seven, but was a member of the House of Representatives when he committed his atrocious crime.)
Superintendent Prowd lauded the police for acting swiftly and arresting the suspects of the killing of Mordecious Nyemah. He cautioned the people to remain law-abiding. It may be useful to recall that public protests over the ritualistic murders in the county led to rioting which even caused the government of President Weah to impose a curfew. (webmster FVDK).
Murdered Mordecious Nyemah finally interred
Published: May 18, 2021 By: The New Dawn, Liberia – By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County–Editing by Jonathan Browne
The remains of the late commercial motorcyclist Mordecious Nyemah, who was gruesomely murdered on 25th March 2021 in Maryland County have been laid to rest, two months after the killing that sparked violent protests in the county by angry citizens.The deceased was reportedly murdered by suspects Moses Mlarmah and others near Bassiken town between Gand Kru and Maryland. His remains were finally interred on Saturday, May 15, 2021.
The home-going ceremony for the late motorcyclist, also a student, was held at the Maranatha Heritage Assembly of God Church in Pleebo, Maryland County Electoral district#2. Sympathizers included county authorities, representatives of the business community, students and women groups, national security, religious community, Civil Society Organizations, traditional chiefs and elders, among others.
Maryland County Superintendent George A. Prowd applauded citizens for attending the burial of the late Mordecious Nyemah, whose murder he described as worrisome. He assured family of the deceased that justice will be accorded them for the murder of their son.
Superintendent Prowd said the Government of Liberia is committed to protecting lives of citizens and foreign residents, while condemning ritualistic killings across the country. According to him, there have been several death cases since he took office as superintendent, but the case of the late Mordecious Nyemah has drawn attention of both citizens and national government. Superintendent Prowd recalled that in the late 70’s, similar situation occurred in the county that involved former superintendent Allen Yancy and other high profile officials, who were tried, adjudged guilty and hanged.
“When you reflect your minds back to Maryland Gboyo history, you will get to know that most of those people, who were involved into ritualistic killings by then, were mostly government officials. I remember, there was a superintendent in Maryland who was caught for ritualistic killing and was hanged and because of this, many citizens look at us as suspects of these current ritualistic acts that are happening in this county”, Superintendent Prowd lamented. He expressed excitement that suspects have been arrested and placed behind bars, awaiting court trial in connection to the murder of the late Mordecial.
“We are too happy and thankful to God that one of the suspects, Moses, who was the first to be arrested, without medicine, without threats or torture, he’s started calling names of people who are involved into the death of Mordecial”, Prowd added. He continued that in as much the suspects are behind bars, there’s a strong case, and burial of the late Modecious doesn’t in anyway end the case.
The superintendent cautioned citizens to remain law-abiding and assist government in the ongoing hearing rather than staging protests that would disrupt the county and shut down economic activities. He county authorities, including the Maryland Legislative Caucus have received series of letters from parents and other concerned groups over the release of alleged rioters that are in prison in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
Prowd disclosed that those letters were sent to national government, and prayed that as soon as the case is being looked into and suspects are found guilty, it would be easy for President Weah to extended executive clemency. He urged parents of those suspects to remain peaceful as government is working out modality to transport at least three members of the bereaved family to Zwedru for the trial.
On April 5, 2021, police arrested and sent to the Zwedru Correction Palace scores of suspects, including Morris Senneh, President of the Pleebo Motorcyclists union, Thomas Kumah, president of Maryland County youth, Mamadou Diallo, Edward Toe, Sieh Gray, Edwin Lawal, Salu Ali, Lawrence Jarbee, and Wilfred Kuoh.
Also being held for the murder and subsequent rioting are Eugene Koppeh, George Nimely, John Davis, Patrick Wilson, Augustine Navy, Micheal Doblah, Sawo Bedel, Robert Wesseh, Fred Johnny, Peter Bestman, Moses Toe, Mashel Doloson, Thomas Kuma, Joseph Bannie, George Segbeh, Mark Freeman, Michael Tugbeh, Winston Smith, Christopher Dweh Prince Kouh, George Weah, John Collies, Chris Porka and Sham Beyslow.
They are accused of involving in multiple crimes during mass protests in demand of justice that led to the damage of government’s properties, including arson attacks on the home of Speaker Bhofal Chambers in Pleebo Sodoken district, Maryland County. The violence led President George Weah to impose a dusk to dawn curfew in the entire county, which subsequently calm the tension.
It seems appropriate to start this introduction to the following article with a warning because of its graphic contents. Sorcery accusation-related violence (SARV) is sometimes too gruesome to tell or to read. I’ve read a lot of articles on ritual murders in recent years and ‘ve seen many pictures, yet my stomach was turning when I read the following report on sorcery accusation-related violence. It describes horrible acts of mobs or sometimes individuals which take place not only in Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa, but in countries and regions all over the world. Common characteristics are that people are ill-informed, not or poorly educated, and have limited opportunities and no perspectives for improvement of one’s lives, in combination with a weak rule of law and often a lack of political will, as one well-informed interviewee rightly stated (see below).
The article mentions a few countries in Africa, notably Central African Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, but it does no require much imagination to add other African countries. The belief in witchcraft is widespread on the continent. This is not to say that everybody in Africa believes in witchcraft but the number of superstitious people and people who believe in witchcraft (juju, muti, money rituals) cannot be counted, that’s for sure.
‘Sorcery’ still a motive for torture, killing in 21st century
Published: April 28, 2021 By: CGTN – Sim Sim Wissgott
Two women were attacked and tortured in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby on Sunday, accused of witchcraft. They were interrogated and burned with hot irons to get them to admit to killing a woman who had died earlier in the week, local media reports said.
One managed to escape and alert the police. But this was not an isolated incident in the Pacific island nation.
Local media reported in February that six women had been accused of sorcery. Police managed to free two women in July after they were held and tortured for four days, accused of killing a villager a week earlier by removing his heart.
Attacks like these are so widespread that Papua New Guinea (PNG) actually has a term and acronym for them: sorcery accusation-related violence, or SARV.
While authorities and politicians regularly condemn these as “barbaric acts” and “uncivilized” behavior, SARV continues.
This type of violence is not limited to PNG either. Accusations of sorcery remain a very real threat in many communities around the world and claim dozens – if not hundreds – of lives every year.
Other sorcery-related killings in recent months have included a 70-year-old man in eastern Jharkhand state who reportedly practiced exorcism and sold herbal medicines; a family of five, accused of black magic after several people in their village fell ill and died; and a middle-aged man who was beheaded “on suspicion of sorcery” in neighboring Odisha state in December.
Another elderly man in Odisha was killed last month after villagers accused him of witchcraft.
“The deceased used to throw ash and some powder in front of the houses of villagers which raised doubts that he was practicing some witchcraft. In a fit of rage, some youths of the village killed him with stone and hammer and fled the spot after dumping his body in the bushes near the canal,” a police officer told local media.
Reports have emerged in recent months from South Africa, Nigeria, and Nepal of people being beaten, tortured or killed on suspicion of witchcraft. Countries like Tanzania and Ghana have also been fighting SARV for years.
There are no definite figures on how many people fall victim to SARV every year around the world. In many cases, the crimes go unreported as victims fear retribution.
The problem is significant enough that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights held an experts’ conference in 2017 to discuss ways “to end harmful practices related to witchcraft.”
There were 372 anti-sorcery attacks reported between 2013 and 2016 in PNG, according to UK charity Oxfam. In India’s Assam state, a dozen are killed every year, according to local media.
Although men can be targeted, victims of witchcraft-related violence tend overwhelmingly to be women and girls.
As a result, the issue is often paired with women’s rights and gender equality. Victims are generally among the most vulnerable members of the community. Mob mentality, lack of education and poor policing are also contributing factors.
“Sorcery-related violence stems from poor education, lack of awareness, limited opportunities coupled with deteriorating capacity for law and order and a lack of political will,” PNG’s Oro Province Governor Gari Juffa told The Guardian last year.
There have been reports of people accused of being witches after a member of their community fainted, suffered an epileptic fit, or died without warning.
A woman and her daughter were accused of sorcery in PNG earlier this month and were tortured by relatives after the woman’s husband died of COVID-19 .
Attacks are often brutal, with victims hacked to death, maimed, gang-raped, slashed with knives, burned with hot irons or hit with rocks, leaving them horribly scarred – physically and mentally – for life.
Relatives can also be targeted by association: in the case of the family of five killed in Jharkhand state in February, a middle-aged couple was suspected of witchcraft, but their son, daughter-in-law and five-year-old grandson were also murdered.
Children of alleged witches are especially seen as a threat, human rights campaigners say.
The perpetrators rarely act alone but attack their victims in groups: in the latest case on Sunday in PNG, the two women were attacked and tortured by up to 20 men.
Police often say the attackers’ identities are known to them but communities and survivors may be reluctant to come forward and cooperate with law enforcement, meaning many perpetrators get away with their crime.
Some progress has been seen. The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act was passed in India in 2015, making it a crime to accuse anyone of sorcery.
The Catholic Church’s Pontifical Mission Societies declared last year August 10 as World Day against Witch Hunts.
PNG repealed its 1971 Sorcery Act in 2013, which sanctioned sorcery-related violence. At the same time, it drafted a Sorcery National Action Plan to raise awareness about the issue and find ways to combat it.
The country even has a hotline now for anyone who may be the target of sorcery accusations.
The latest cases however have prompted concerns that sorcery-related violence may be once again spreading. While such cases are usually found in the more remote regions of PNG, last weekend’s attack occurred in the capital.
While action plans and strategies have been drafted, funding and effective implementation are still wanting, local officials say.
After yesterday’s article on the spread of ritualistic killings in Liberia by the Daily Observer, this leading Liberian newspaper surprises us today again with another article focusing a phenomenon which seems so difficult to eliminate in this West African country. Another group of citizens is protesting against the mysterious deaths in the country, which they blame on certain people responsible for ritualistic and secret killings. Citizens against secret killings (CUASK) allege that while the Sirleaf administration era saw a number of mysterious, ritualistic deaths as well as secret killings, such deaths are even more alarming under the George Weah administration.
True of untrue? It’s a fact that nobody in Liberia is surprised by news of another ritual murder that has been committed. In the last paragraph of the Daily Observer newspaper article – presented below – two recent examples are being given.
-As families of the deceased fear for their lives for speaking in public on how they feel about the loss of their loved ones
A group of angry citizens, some of whom are mourning the mysterious deaths of their loved ones, marched on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 marched petitioned the United States government, through its Embassy near Monrovia to call on President George Weah administration to see reason and conduct further investigations in order to establish causes of the deaths and bring the perpetrators to book.
The group, under the banner “Citizens United Against Secret Killings (CUASK)” said they are saddened to know that the Liberian government has failed or is failing to properly investigate circumstances leading to the deaths of a number of people, including some high profile government officials including security personnel, financial experts, among others.
CUASK said it strongly believes that there are hidden motives behind the alleged killings of several of those who lost their lives and that the only way those motives can be aborted and prevented from causing further harm in the Liberian society is to incessantly push the government to act appropriately rather than what they have so far done.
“We are aware that the secret and ritualistic killings have been going on, even in the previous government but the exponential rate at which it is now going is alarming. We say so because we never tell who is next among us who have come to present this petition today,” said Jethro Emmanuel Kolleh, leader of CUASK.
Kolleh added: “We also believe that the autopsy reports given were done surreptitiously to cover the facts. The doubtful reports by these governments, we mean the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led administration and now the Weah led administration, have left us in fear about the growing rate of impunity.
“In fact, impunity has become a monster among us and if nothing is done about it now; there may be more disastrous happenings across the country, with the perpetrators having nothing to fear simply because they will be pre-informed that doing wrong, no matter how grievous, is nothing to worry about in the country.”
In their petition, CUASK listed several names of people, including children who died through alleged questionable means as raised by the concerned citizens.
“Our motto is “All Liberians Lives Matter,” and this is why we will not stop mentioning the names of all those great sons and daughters who died under mysterious circumstances,” Kolleh further noted.
He named Harry Greaves, former managing director of Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC), Michael Allison, a whistle blower and Shakie Kamara, a 15 year old boy in West Point as individuals who died during the administration former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf under troubling circumstances.
Others who died during the Sirleaf administration and named in the CUASK petition as questionable deaths were Victoria Zayzay, a young lady who Police claimed, committed suicide overnight while in custody and little Angel Togba who lived with Hans Williams and his wife in Monrovia, prior to her (Angel Togba) death which was attributed to suicide.
“We strongly believe that the deaths of Greaves and Allison were political and arbitrary. They were killed but justice was never served,” he emphasized.
The Weah era
Citizens against secret killings (CUASK) said while the Sirleaf administration era saw a number of mysterious, ritualistic deaths as well as secret killings, such deaths are more alarming under the George Weah administration.
The advocacy group said it is disappointed in the George Weah led administration because, while in opposition, they (Coalition for Democratic Change — CDC) condemned former President Sirleaf and her administration for failing to protect the lives they took oaths to protect.
“We are aware that the U.S. government is fully informed on a daily basis about happenings in Liberia. We are aware and that has been made clearly known by the State Department’s human rights report as well as the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act of 2021,” Jethro Kolleh said.
The group referenced the death of Zenu Miller, a journalist at OK FM 99.5 as one case that ended inconclusively, but due to his family’s wish to avoid the unnecessary rigmarole that could have proven nothing worthy, Miller was buried without justice.
Zenu Miller was beaten by Presidential security personnel (Executive Protection Service (EPS) at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex on January 25, 2020. He became sick and was admitted at the ELWA Hospital in Paynesville, the place re stayed at until his passing on February 15 of the same year.
He posted on his Facebook account saying that he was experiencing severe pain in his chest following the EPS’ brutality meted against him but in the end, Miller’s family informed the public that he died of hypertension (high blood pressure).
In October of 2020 alone, three auditors and a tax expert suffered mysterious deaths that raised public outcries.
On October 2, 2020, Gifty Lamah and Albert Peters, workers at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), were found dead on Broad Street in a car said to have been owned by Albert Peters.
Another employee of LRA, Joseph Fahnboto, died two days later, October 4, 2020.
On October 10, 2020, news broke, announcing the passing Emmanuel B. Nyenswa, head of Liberia’s Internal Audit Agency (IAA).
Following the deaths of the auditors and staffs of LRA and IAA, Dr. Benedict B. Kolee and Dr. Zoebon B. Kpadeh, employees of the Ministry of Health and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital respectively, were hired by government to conduct the autopsies on the remains of the victims.
However, the autopsies reports released by the two pathologists were received with discontent by the public.
In their report, as read by Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean, Gifty Lamah and Albert Peters died in the vehicle due to carbon monoxide.
The reports had it that the IAA boss, Emmanuel Nyenswa died as a result of massive hemorrhage, multiple bone and soft tissue injuries which he sustained after falling from the height of his home.
According to the Justice Minister, the IAA boss’s death requires further investigation, stating that circumstances leading to the cause of his demise are unnatural.
For George Fahnboto, the autopsy report indicated that he died as a result of the accident he was allegedly involved in along the Samuel Kanyon Doe Boulevard while driving.
Following those deaths, Melvin Earley, a U.S.-trained Presidential guard who served former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and later President Weah, was said to have died by suicide using his own gun, while on the nationwide tour with Weah in Tapitta, Nimba County.
The family of Earley and many critics of the Weah led government disagreed with the government’s allegation that he committed suicide. His widow and all of his family members as well as their supporters called on the Weah led government to provide evidence that he (Earley) took his own life, but no report came, according to them, as the widow said there is no death certificate to show cause of her husband’s death.
Several other deaths, mysterious and questionable, occurred in the weeks and months that followed. To name two more, Florence Massaquoi, 46, was found dead on the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Boulevard, with some parts of her body extracted, while in Maryland County, Mordecial Nyemah, a graduating high school student, was killed for ritualistic purpose, causing a major protest and rioting from the angry citizens of the county.
The advocacy group, citizens united against secret killings (CUASK) said they will not rest their pursuit for justice until it is served in each of the cases.
One of Liberia’s leading newspapers, the Daily Observer, today pays attention to the gruesome murder of Mordecial Nyemah and subsequent events: the protests of women in Pleebo, the vandalization of the Harper Prison Compound by protesters, the attack on the property of Bhopal Chambers, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the curfew imposed to quell the unrest. Most remarkable however is the elaborated overview of ritualistic murders in the country (without going into details of specific cases), in the aftermath of a visit of the Peace Advocates of the Maryland/Gbenelue Chapter of Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. (DATI). The delegation visited the family of the late Mordecial Nyema on Monday, April 19, 2021 in Pleebo City, Maryland County.
Both the DATI peace advocates and the Daily Observer newspaper editors are to be commended for their frankness and their plea for the rule of law and to end the medieval practices which are human sacrifices. The following article gives a rare insight in the occurrence and background of ritualistic murders and human sacrifices in Liberia. It is highly recommended reading!
Notwithstanding the foregoing, a footnote seems warranted. In the Daily Observer article it is explicitly mentioned that in Liberia ritual killings are mostly if not only occurring in Maryland and Montserrado counties. This, however, is not in line with what has been reported elsewhere. Honesty commands me to say that this has been based on my own research and experience in Liberia.
Nonetheless I agree with the main conclusion and plea of the article which is presented below. Respect for human life is an essential human right. The rule of law is basic to a 21st country. A civilized nation and people respect human life (webmaster FVDK).
RIP Mordecial Nyemah!
Dire Need to Respect the Sanctity of Human Life in Liberia:
Peace Advocates Visit Family of Mordecial Nyemah in Pleebo
Published: April 22, 2021 By: Daily Observer, Liberia
Peace Advocates of the Maryland/Gbenelue Chapter of Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. (DATI) visited the family of Mordecial Nyema on Monday, April 19th, 2021 in Pleebo City, Maryland County. The high-powered DATI delegation was led by its Maryland County Director Meshach Sieh Elliott. During the solemn ceremony, the youths of Dehkontee Artists Theatre’s Maryland Chapter expressed their deepest condolences to Ms. Mary Nyemah, the surrogate mother of slain youth and commercial motor cyclist Mordecial Neyma and his family, for their irreparable loss. Mordecial Nyemah was a twelfth-grade student of Pleebo High School.
DATI also presented a humble consolation package to Ms. Nyema and her family to help defray some of the funeral expenses for their son. During the ceremony, libation was poured to acknowledge the presence of the spirits of our forefathers so they would bless the gathering. Mr. Thomas Kuwait Nyemah expressed gratitude on behalf of the family. He stated that what DATI did to reach out to his family was heartwarming. He thanked Dr. Gbaba and the DATI team for a job well done. Ms. Mary Nemah, aunt of the deceased also thanked DATI for their general support.
What Really Happened in Maryland?
Recently, Mordecial Nyema was gruesomely murdered in Pleebo, Maryland County by twenty-eight-year-old suspect named Roland Appleton and three other individuals identified as Moses Malmah, Francis Clarke, and Daniel Wesseh—all youths. According to the April 9, 2021 edition of “The Bush Chicken” online magazine, Mordecial Nyemah was murdered along the Maryland-Grand Kru Highway in Gbolobo-Bessiken, Pleebo Sodoken Statutory District. As a result, concerned citizens, including mothers, youths, and students organized a peaceful protest and marched from Pleebo to Harper City to seek timely justice and redress from County authorities regarding the death of their slain son and colleague.
However, observers reported that the crowd turned angry when the Acting Superintendent informed peaceful protesters Mordecial Nyemah’s murder would be addressed during the August court term while the protesters had hoped their grievances would be addressed by carrying out a speedy investigation and trial. Consequently, angry protestors burned down and vandalized several private and public properties including but not limited to the home of Borfur Chambers, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Liberia, the Harper Central Prison Compound, and vehicles, while expressing their frustrations for the continual ritualistic killings that occur in Maryland with impunity.
In response, the government of Liberia imposed a dusk to dawn curfew and arrested several individuals and youths, including students from Tubman University. They were incarcerated at the Zwedru Palace of Corrections. Those arrested have not been arraigned and/or no fixed court dates have been set for their trial. In addition, the Liberia National Police confirmed that the
The Sanctity of Human Life
Human life is very sacred. It cannot be manufactured in a scientific laboratory, neither does man have the power to create a human being, except Almighty God. Though man plays a role through sexual intercourse during the procreation process, yet, that process of itself is a divine plan which can only occur when a male sperm mates with a female egg. Therefore, to emphasize the essence of human life God included “Thou shall not kill” as part of his Ten Commandments he gave to the Children of Israel.
Furthermore, to make himself very clear regarding the issue about the sanctity of human life, God rescued Isaac’s when God tested Abraham and asked him to sacrifice his only child. When Abraham raised the dagger to sacrifice Isaac, God miraculously intervened and changed what would have been a human sacrifice to one with an unblemished lamb. God performed this miracle because he wanted to teach mankind that we do not need human sacrifice to please him and/or to get or retain big government jobs. Ever since then, it became customary and the acceptable norm of every civilized society to slaughter an animal if one desires to make a sacrifice, whether to appease the dead, or to seek greater fortune in life.
The slaughtering of human beings is a barbaric act. It dates to barbaric eras when there was no rule of law. During those dark eras, man naively believed that offering another human being as an ultimate sacrifice would bring them fame, wealth, and success in life. However, when man became civilized and began to conglomerate there was a need to put an end to ritualistic killing because there is no scientific proof that killing another man makes you to become successful in life. In most instances success in life derives from hard work, steadfastness, and a firm determination to make ends meet. Therefore, ritualist killing and/or snatching another man’s life away in the darkness of the night is wrong and should be discouraged at all levels of society.
Ritualistic Killing Is Not Kwa or Grebo Culture and Not Liberian Culture Either!
Ritualistic killing is not Kwa or Grebo culture or Liberian culture either. It is mainly prevalently carried out in two specific regions of Liberia—Maryland and Montserrado Counties. This does not mean that ritualistic killings do not occur in other parts of Liberia. Nevertheless, when it comes to the frequency with which ritualistic killings occur in Liberia, these two regions rank top on the list. Hence, in my view and observation ritualistic killing as a foreign cult or custom was imposed on the Liberian people through the introduction of foreign cults or secret ‘societies’ in Liberia. Below, I submit some reasons for my assertion and observation as a cultural researcher.
Throughout the narratives that were told by our Kwa ancestors I have not heard any mention made of people being brutally killed outside of tribal wars like the way ritualistic killings have taken place in Maryland and Montserrado Counties over the past century. Centuries back, the Krahns were referred to by their Grebo, Kru, Bassa brothers and sisters as “Pineyoun” (Rich People). As descendants of biological brothers, members of these Kwa ethnic groups travelled to one another’s countries (territories) frequently. The Krus, Grebos, Bassas came on pilgrimage to Mount Gedeh to see the Oracle at Putu and the Krahns or Pineyoun travelled by foot to go to Gbenelue (Cape Palmas) or Zinonqlee (Krus call it Siloklee) in Sinoe County, just to see the Atlantic Ocean or to purchase salt, tobacco and other foreign goods that were not produced in the hinterland of Liberia.
Due to their fraternal relationships, those days a Krahn man traveling to Maryland or Sinoe or Grand Kru or Bassa could stop for days or weeks in any family house along his journey trail without any questions asked. They would accommodate themselves when the hosts were on the farm and when the hosts arrived, they would warmly greet their guests and accommodate them until it was time for them to leave. Not once did I hear the old folks say anyone got ‘mysteriously missing’ or was ritualistically murdered while traveling through Grebo, Bassa, or Kru land. In addition, it is also safe to say that even in the Mel and Mande territories of Liberia (western, northern, central Liberia) people roamed about freely without any incidents of ritualistic killings in Nimba, Bong, Lofa, Bomi, Barpolu, Grand Cape Mount, except for Montserrado where such diabolical act is also rampant!
Therefore, individuals who are members of the “Gboyo Cult” in Maryland must stop tarnishing the reputation of the Grebo people. Ritualistic killings are not an inherent attribute of Grebo or Kwa culture. It is a custom derived from the imposition of a foreign cult that is mainly prevalent in Maryland and Montserrado Counties.
Conclusion of DATI Peace Advocates Visit with the Nyemah Family in Pleebo
During DATI Peace Advocates’ visit with Mordecial Nyemah’s family, Ms. Mary Neymah, aunt and surrogate mother of the deceased, bitterly wept for the loss of her son and nephew. She said Mordicial’s biological parents passed when he was a child and she reared him. She lamented that he would not be graduating from high school when his colleagues successfully complete their secondary education.
However, despite the pain she and her family are going through, the Nyemah family is appealing to the Liberian government to please release those that are imprisoned as a result of their involvement in the peaceful protest that turned violent. Ms. Nyeman was speaking on behalf of her family on whose behalf thousands of citizens (mothers, fathers, students) took to the streets to protest and to march many miles from Pleebo to Harper City to present their grievances to the authorities. She says the Nyemah family regrets that what was intended to be a peaceful march turned into vandalism. However, she is also appealing to His Excellency George Manning Weah, to please release Tubman University students who are incarcerated so they can return to school. Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. also condemns the violent act perpetrated by individuals to derail the good intent of the peaceful march by the women of Pleebo and pray that our farsighted leader will ensure justice is served and that those who paid teenagers to perpetrate such violent ritualistic act will have their day in court.
Published by Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. Public Relations Section
The SUA chair said such alleged ritualistic act is worrisome and scaring, and it seems to be a common practice in the county. He recalled that Maryland County has a glaring history of mysterious murder of innocent people either for theft or ritual purposes.
Last week, President George Manneh Weah imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the entire country to enable the Joint Security conduct investigation into the reportedly murder. (webmaster FVDK)
Student leader condemns gruesome murder in Maryland
Published: April 4, 2021 The New Dawn – Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County–Editing by Jonathan Browne
In the wake of the gruesome murder of a student from the Pleebo High School in Pleebo City, Maryland County recently, a group of students from the Tubman University in Harper has condemned the murder. The students under the banner Student Unification Alliance (SUA) frowned on vandalism by motorcyclists and protesters, calling for thorough investigation and prosecution of suspects.
Speaking thru a press release, the chairman of SUA Joshua D. Musu admonish all militants, cadres, solidarity forces and the student populace of the William V.S. Tubman University to remain vigilant and responsive as immoral societal issues in the country are on the increase.
Chairman Musu said they denounce very strongly the uncivilized and brutal murder of a patriot, dutiful and fallen student, who was a resident of Pleebo Sodoken District, describing that act as barbaric and unscrupulous.
He said such alleged ritualistic act is worrisome and scaring, which seems to be a common practice in the county. He recalled that Maryland County has a glaring history of MYSTERIOUS MURDER of innocent people either for theft or ritual purposes.
Musu reflected that as far back as 1999, similar incident occurred, involving one oldman Pachey-Pachey, who went missing and was later found dead with body parts allegedly abstracted. He noted that relevant authorities at the time could not bring the murderer (s) to book, and impunity prevailed over justice.
He added that the death of Pachey-Pachey was followed by the disappearance of an Immigration Officer (Alphonso Chelleh), who was also found dead alone Lake Shepherd, in Harper City, and again, the killer (s) walked with impunity, as the authorities failed to make any arrest.
He also recounted that similar to those incidents, Octavos Landford, who was a resident of the Hance Street Community, was allegedly murdered in 2004, and in spite of many calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, those behind such killing took a comfortable bath in the pool of impunity as usual.
The student leader continued that another victim, Charles Derrick, was allegedly murdered in 2019, including Bill O. Meyers, but all these cases were allegedly swept under the carpet.
“There are many of these instances in the history of this county (Maryland) that we cannot mention, as souls of Tumu Yuade Allison and many others are anguishing and calling for justice”, he lamented.
He said, regrettably, some of these instances did not even claim public attention. “To name few, we will point at the death of Karpeh Allison, a citizen of River Gee, who was residing in Harper. He was allegedly murdered at the Catholic Mission. The culprit (s) who was/were believed to have been thief (ves) remains unknown, even today.”
He noted that next was James Morias commonly called (Te’loo-way), a cassava leave grinder, who was pitifully murdered across the Hoffman River in 2016, while laboring to earn a living.
“Considering all of these instances, we are certain that the murderers are not from Pluto. They are here on earth! As such, it is the sole responsibility of the government to do everything possible to unearth doers of this pernicious and heavily wicked act. This is a new beginning! We will remain peacefully engaged with the Government of Liberia to end this societal embarrassment (MURDER)!”
The SUA chairman noted that although he condemned the wicked act, but he also frowned on the action of protesters, noting that they have exacerbated the matter through actions of vandalism. He added the protesters’ behavior was squarely misguided and inhumane, cautioning them not to arrogate Justice as they are historically aware that justice delay in these instances usually ends murder cases without justice being served.
“We would further like to caution Government of Liberia to carefully and gently handle this situation before it escalates and get beyond control. In our view, keeping mute on trending ritualistic issues will not aid the process, but intensify the situation, since protesters are already aggrieved.”
Last Tuesday, protesters went wild in Pleebo and Harper cities burning prison compound and home Speaker Bhofal Chambers, the second biggest protest in Maryland County since January 2019, when the body of Bill Myers, a 24-year-old motorcyclist was discovered along the Harper-Little Wrebo highway. The incident led to the destruction of the Harper Police Station as well as barricading campuses of the William V. S. Tubman University.
Despite calls for calm by Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Senator Joe Gble-bo Brown and local authorities, tension mounted in the county with protesters vowing not to leave the streets until their demand is met.
Several gadgets belonging to local journalists were seized by the protesters who earlier warned reporters against taking photos and streaming videos during the demonstration However, President George Manneh Weah on Wednesday imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the entire country to calm the violence to enable the Joint Security conduct investigation into the reportedly murder.
The mysterious death of a motorcyclist identified as Mordecial Nyemah has prompted thousands of residents of Maryland County, especially women, to publicly protest over the alleged ritual killing of young people. Maryland County, in the southeastern part of the country, is notorious for ritual murders. The most notorious ritual murder case dates back to the 1970s and led to the hanging of the Harper Seven, including the Superintendent of Maryland County and the county’s representative in the House of Representatives.
This may explain the protests though – as far as we, in the outside world, know – there seems to be no proof of another wave of ritual killings in Maryland County. To be continued when more news emerges (FVDK).
Curfew imposed in Liberia as inmates escape prison amid violent protests
Published: April 1, 2021 By: Face2Face Africa – Mildred Europa Taylor
Liberia’s President George Weah has imposed a night-time curfew on the coastal county of Maryland after about 90 inmates broke jail amid violent demonstrations led by women. Thousands of residents of Maryland county, especially women have been protesting for several days now over alleged ritual killings of young people.
On Wednesday, during one of these violent protests in Harper city, near the border with Ivory Coast, demonstrators broke into the county’s prison compound in search of an alleged killer of a motorcyclist, resulting in the escape of the inmates, police spokesman Moses Carter told the BBC. The home of the speaker of the house of representatives, who comes from the region, was also set on fire by the protesters, Carter said.
Weah in a statement said “in order to keep the peace, and to ensure that law and order prevails, a curfew is hereby imposed throughout Maryland County, ” adding that the “curfew will be strictly enforced by the police, who will be supported by the Joint Security Forces.”
On the alleged killings, the president said he is aware of the gruesome killing of a young man in Harper City, Maryland County. “Although a suspect was apprehended by the police and incarcerated pending subsequent investigation in accordance with due process of law, we have seen residents of Harper City, as well as Pleebo City, take to the streets to protest the killing,” Weah said.
“I would like to assure the people of Maryland County that this killing has claimed the urgent attention of the Government, and will be thoroughly, promptly and fully investigated. The perpetrators will face the full weight of the law.”
The search for the inmates continues, Front Page Africa reports. The police have appealed to the public not to harbor any of the escapees but to turn them in.
Monrovia – Reports from Maryland County in Southeastern Liberia said that House Speaker Bhofal Chambers’ house in Pleebo, Sodoken District has been set ablaze, while angry protesters have stormed the Harper Central Prison, freeing 91 inmates.
In the wake of the incident, President George Weah has declared a daytime curfew in Maryland County from 6: AM to 6: PM.
The political officer in the office of Speaker Chambers, George Watkins, confirming the arson attack on the Speaker’s house to FrontPageAfrica, said Police has arrested the alleged perpetrator only identified as Kalagbah who said he acted based on rumored that the Speaker ordered the police to use force on protesters in Harper city.
Recently, a group of angry people took to the streets in Pleebo, the county’s commercial hub to protest the mysterious death of a motorcyclist identified as Mordecial Nyemah.
To calm the situation, Watkins said, the Speaker, exercising his responsibility as a senior citizen of the area, liaised with his colleagues and they engaged the Liberia National Police (LNP) to restore calm in the area and investigate the incident.
But rumors soon began to spread that the Speaker has ordered the Police to beat on the protesters and remove them off the streets forcefully, something he said that prompted Kalagbah to the set the four-bed room house, valued at US$100, 000 ablaze.
Responding to whether the Speaker ordered the LNP to forcefully remove the protesters off the streets, he said: “It is not true, the Speaker just exercised his responsibility and worked with his colleagues to see how calm can be restored on the ground. We leave it with the government of Liberia to do something about it.”
Meanwhile, the Joint Security in the county has issued a search order against 91 inmates including the main subject of the latest violence, identified as Moses Mlamah who fled the Maryland Central Prison in Harper and called on the public to assist in re-arresting them.
In the statement, the Joint Security said beside releasing 91 prisoners, the prison was vandalized on March 30, 2021 by angry protesters from Pleebo and other surrounding towns, damaging important materials of the prisons.
The Joint Security also added that some of the items from the prison were looted by some community members and is requesting those behind the unwholesome act to turn in those items to the prison authority or call 0886-922-486/0770-243-749.
Excerpt of the statement: “The Joint security says whoever comes across Mr. Moses Mlamah, the accused should called these numbers: 0777-005-551/0886-839-991/0886-642-204. And for those who are on the run should also turn themselves in to the joint security of this county. Please note if they are refusing, their sentencing terms will be added if they are caught.”
While the search for the inmates continues, the Joint security is appealing to the public not to harbor any of the escapees, but to turn them in, assuring they will be accorded due process.
‘Unlawful and totally Unacceptable’
Meanwhile, the Pleebo Sodoken District’s student group has ‘strongly’ condemn the recent murder of Mordecial Nyemah, but also expressed dismay over the wave of violence that erupted in the wake of the incident, leading to the burning of the Speaker’s House.
“This is unlawful and totally unacceptable,” the group said.
“The alleged scale and gravity of these attacks by protesters mark a worrying escalation of violence. No cause can justify such brutality against the Speaker’s house and even the senseless killing. Perpetrators should be held to account. We urge the security forces to exercise restraint in dealing with the situation and above all ensure that innocent civilians are not harmed.”
The group further urged all students, communities and groups to reject violence, adding, “After years of insecurity and instability, it should be clear that violence is not the solution to the challenges facing Pleebo.”
MONROVIA — President George Manneh Weah has declared a curfew in Maryland County from 6am to 6pm following violent protest by women and motorcyclists over the alleged death of a motorcyclist by four unknown men. President Weah condemned the violent attacks and warned that his government will not in any way condoned any act of lawlessness.
Citizens of the county reportedly cut one of those allegedly linked to the murder allegation. On Wednesday, scores of women and motorcyclists took to the street of Pleebo, demanding justice in the death of the motorcyclist, Modacious Nyemah, who is said to be a senior student of the Pleebo Central High School.
Their action reportedly resulted to led to the burning of House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers’ residence in Pleebo, Maryland County.
Speaker Chambers upon series of calls and text messages to his orange number did not respond up to press time.
Liberia National Police Spokesman Moses Carter confirmed the situation, stating that one arrest has been made in connection to the situation.
Carter further noted that the individual arrested on Wednesday, March 31 along the Bateken, Grand Kru Highway is currently in police custody in Harper and will be charge and forwarded to court.
The protest which came as a result of the mysterious death of the motorcyclist halted normal activities in Pleebo City on Wednesday, March 31.
Due to its brewing tension, President George Weah then declared 6am -6:00Pm curfew in Maryland County following violence among the people in that part of the Country.
According to the Executive Mansion, the curfew will remain enforced until further notice. Though it is still unclear what may have linked the Speaker’s residence to the saga but the prompt decision by the President has so far brought a partly calm to the situation as the citizens are now under obligation to abide by his mandate or face the full weight of the law.
It can be recalled that scores of women and cyclists on March 25, 2021 stormed the City of Pleebo in protest of the alleged murder of student Modecial Nyamah along the Grand Kru, Maryland Highway.
Meanwhile, Police Spokesman Moses Carter said further investigation is still ongoing into the matter.
The following is a heartbreaking story. The administration of the TYNECEPLOH Education Foundation, which runs a school in Paynesville, in Greater Monrovia, asked the parents of a six-year-old kindergarten pupil to stop sending her to the school. The reason? The child’s alleged involvement in witchcraft activities. My initial reaction was, and to a certain extent still is one of disbelief. Knowing Liberia, I am aware that among members of certain communities the belief in witchcraft still exists, even today, in 2021, in the 21st century. Many Liberians use a mobile telephone. Also, the use of internet is widespread in Liberia. Yet the belief in magical powers, superstition, witchcraft hasn’t disappeared. Superstition can only be eliminated from society through education and awareness, yet in this case those who are engaged in these institutions show that they too believe in witchcraft.
I was struck and outraged for three reasons. First, parents entrust their children to teachers in schools and kindergartens because they expect that their children are thus protected by people who are well educated and trained, and qualified for their job. And yet these teachers and administrators disappoint us by believing in witchcraft, humiliating an innocent six-year old child by expelling her from school and making her an outcast in society!
Secondly, in any well functioning society there exists a system of checks and balances, institutions that watch and check on the respect of rules which we have agreed on as a society. In Liberia, the Ministry of Education is responsible for overseeing the activities of schools. Moreover, there is a Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection with a clear mandate. I woud have expected an immediate reaction of these two governmental institutions. Besides, the school is located near the residence of President Weah. Where are the authorities in Liberia when a six-year old child and her parents need them??
Last but not least, it is mind-boggling that responsible, adult people decide to insult, hurt, – I even call it torture – an innocent, small child that needs love, protection and guidance, and who should not be rejected, stigmatized, expelled from school, rejected by her friends and the society. Those who are responsible for this reprehensible, repulsive behavior should be brought before justice since what they have done is nothing less than a crime. I mention here the school’s principal and notably the proprietor of TYNECEPLOH Education Foundation, Napoleon Chattah. On a national level, President Weah and/or the Legislature should immediately summon the Minister of Education, Prof Ansu D. Sonii, and the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, William-Etta Piso Saydee-Tarr, question them how this can happen, ask them whether this is an unique act and situation or if it happens more frequently in the country, and instruct them to take all measures needed to avoid a repeat of this situation. (webmaster FVDK)
— Parents plead for gov’t, CSOs intervention; say no money to send child to another school
By Aryee Davis
A school in Paynesville has expelled one of its students for the child’s alleged involvement in witchcraft activities. Though without any form of proof, TYNECEPLOH Education Foundation, located in the Rehab Community, recently asked the parents of the six-year-old kindergarten student to stop sending her to the school.
According to the parents of the child, who we shall refer to as Miemie to protect her identity, the school expelled her in a bid to prevent the child from potentially harming other students through the alleged witchcraft activities.
Located just a few minutes from President George Weah’s residence, the administration of TYNECEPLOH has been in existence for just over a year. Little Miemie was among the first batch of students who started attending the school when it was established last academic year. The school’s administrators admitted to the Daily Observer that the child was expelled, but refused to disclose the reason for the expulsion.
The child’s parents are pleading with the government and human rights advocates to probe the case to enable her to be reinstated.
When asked whether the allegation against her is true, Miemie burst into tears. She denied ever being a witch, insisting that the school administration’s action against her was based on rumors spread by her classmates.
Her expulsion from the newly established primary school comes in the wake of the harsh economic constraints that Liberians are being faced with as parents struggle to fend for their kids and at the same time send them to school.
“My friends lied on me to my teacher so they say I should not go to school again. Every day, when I see my friends going to school I can be crying. I want to go back to school. I miss my friends and my teacher,” Miemie explained.
To make matters worse, Miemie is now being stigmatized by her neighbors because of the same ‘witchcraft’ allegations. Some families in the neighborhood have banned their children from associating with her.
“My friends in my yard can’t play with me again; they are afraid of me, and only my small brother and I can play,” she added.
“I was on my way to the school on Tuesday morning, I received a message from my daughter’s teacher, only known as Ruth, that I should go on the campus as they wanted to see me. So I went there to find out what happened and, shockingly to me, I was told to take my daughter home,” Miemie’s mother explained.
“When I got on the campus, I met my daughter’s class sponsor, the principal, and the proprietor, who told me that my daughter’s classmates told their teacher that Miemie said she will kill the teacher, the principal, and suck the children’s blood. For this reason, she will not attend school again. The next day, my aunty and I went on the campus to appeal for Miemie to end the school year but they told me that their decision is final,” Miemie’s mother continued.
Miemie’s grandmother, who sells boiled cassava and coconut to pay the child’s tuition, could not hold back her tears at the allegation. “How can this six-year-old child kill her teacher, principal and suck her classmates’ blood? I took care of this child from birth because her father is not working I have never seen anything relating to witchcraft about my grandchild,” she said.
The proprietor of TYNECEPLOH Education Foundation, Napoleon Chattah, confirmed to this reporter that the child has been expelled from the school but declined to state the actual reason for or details concerning the expulsion.
When asked to see the Principal of the school, the proprietor, who was now visibly irritated, said that the principal was not available to speak because he had gone out to run some errands for the school.
“I’m the best person to provide answers to all the inquiries,” Mr. Chattah sharply replied.
But a source from the school that asked not to be named hinted that the administration of TYNECEPLOH Education Foundation told Miemie’s parents to take her to pastors for what they termed as ‘deliverance prayers’, after which the parents will provide a note from the church or pastor confirming that the child is free from witchcraft practices before being accepted back in school.
According to the source, Miemie’s expulsion is on the basis that she’s a witch and that her presence at the school would be dangerous for other kids sharing a class with her.
With this argument, the source continued, the school is insinuating that little Miemie has the power of the ‘dark world’ and could potentially initiate other students.
Sources who are well experienced in the deliverance of suspected or known witches told the Daily Observer that those who practice witchcraft activities have the ability to initiate others. “It is often held that parents, close relatives or friends who are witches often find it easy to initiate other children into the practice. It is also believed that children who are members of the dark world are frequently sent on missions by their superiors to recruit or sometimes harm their peers,” one deliverance minister, who requested not to be named, explained.
Miemie’s parents are however calling on the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Child Rights advocacy groups to probe what they consider to be an unjust decision by the school.
Asked why Miemie cannot be taken to another school, the mother said she cannot afford it because there is no money.
“The little money we had at the beginning of the school year is what we used to register our daughter. We do not have any money to take her to another school,” she said, adding, “If even we could raise a little money, we will not be able to also send her to a faraway school because schools within the community might not accept her because of the allegation. This is why we are calling on relevant authorities to probe into the situation to clear our daughter’s name.
The following plea to end ritual killings focuses on children who are targeted in numerous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Vulnerable, innocent children are mutilated and murdered by ruthless and criminal people who want to increase their wealth, health, power or reputation – by all means. The Nigerian author of this article, which dates from 2016 but could have been written yesterday, OmoTola Omolaya, specifically mentions a number of countries notably Botswana, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
I don’t know the author’s reasons to limit himself to aforementioned countries. In each and every African country where ritual murders are committed, also children die at the hands of unscrupulous murderers who very often get away with their ugly crimes.
However, I fully agree with his conclusion: African governments need to act!
Warning: the following article contains graphic details which may shock the reader (webmaster FVDK).
It’s time for Africa to protect its children from the web of ritual killings
In 2011, BBC did a documentary on witch craft and ritual killings in Uganda and one of the gory stories was about a three-year old boy found in the outskirts of Uganda lying in a pool of blood. His penis had been cut off by ritualists and he was rushed to the hospital to save his life. While speaking with a BBC correspondent, even though the parents are advocating for the ban of witchcraft in the country, the mother is more concerned about her son’s future. She said, “every time I look at him, I ask myself how his future is going to be as a man without a penis. Also I wonder what the rest of the community is going to look at him with a private part that looks like that of a female.”
Like the little boy, a lot of children have fallen victim to kidnappers and ritual killers. Due to their vulnerability, they are easily abducted on their way to school or heading to fetch water. These children, considered pure, are sacrificed by witch doctors to appease ‘the gods’ and bring a myriad of solutions which include wealth, good health, and fertility among others. Hearts, ears, livers and genitals are considered as key ingredients of the rituals.
Although the BBC documentary was released in 2011, not much has changed in Uganda. Very recently, six cases of mutilation and murder of children were reported by a charity organization during the recent Ugandan elections. The Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM), a charity that cares for survivors of attempted child sacrifice, reported that children were used as good luck sacrifices during this period in order to bring wealth and power. Though Moses Binoga, coordinator of the anti-trafficking task force at the interior ministry, did not confirm KCM’s report, he agreed that children had been reported missing in the election period.
This shocking revelations show that it is now unsafe to be a child in Africa. Ritual killings is not peculiar to Uganda, it takes place in other African countries such as Liberia, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. The repeated occurrences of these killings without a penalty is a blatant violation for the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. According to this charter, an individual is entitled to respect for his life and integrity of his person. However, disrespect for a person (children) life thrives in several African country.
Why ritual killings are still prevalent in Africa:
Ritualists are often patronized by the rich and wealthy
In Tanzania, children with albinism are targeted for sacrifices by witch doctors who gets paid by politicians to be successful in their election bids. Also, the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law reports that in Swaziland and Liberia, politicians allegedly commission ritual killings to improve their odds in elections. The same pattern obtains in Uganda as well, where the wealthy pay witch doctors in a bid to expand their fortunes. In Ivory Coast, (where the rate of child abduction is so high that the UNICEF had to intervene) there are speculations that ritual killings by corrupt businessmen and politicians used body parts in ceremonies to confer supernatural powers.
Superstitions, culture and religion.
Africa is still entrenched in dogmas, myth and belief in magic. There is still a prevalence of confidence in charms and witch craft which has been handed down since time immemorial. Ritual killings are culturally acceptable in some parts of South Africa, therefore, the practice is not usually reported by community members. Occultism and other forms of religion permit ritual acts to appease the gods, abate misfortune and seek supernatural help. Many also perform these rituals out of fear of unpleasant spiritual consequences if they falter.
The web of culture, religion and superstition often results in an ethical conflict between protection of human rights and respect for the beliefs and practices of other cultures.
Not many have been convicted of crimes associated with ritual killings in Africa. Due to the coat of secrecy surrounding ritual killings, it makes it difficult to hold the responsible parties accountable and liable for their unlawful actions.
A part of the Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations says that the countries should:
Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children
Children are the most vulnerable in any society and it is the duty of leaders all around the world to provide a safe haven for its young. Africa needs to stop neglecting the safety of these innocent children. Its leaders should enact laws that protect them from gruesome murders that cut their lives short even before their prime.
It is time to enforce the African Charter, because although it permits religious practices, it does not favor jeopardizing a human life (under which ritual killings fall). African governments need to hold those responsible for taking human lives accountable. It is time for Africa to protect its children.
Yesterday I elaborated on a traditional belief in trial by order in Liberia (‘sasswood’). The firm belief in people who have magical powers – wizards, witches, ritualistic killers, also native doctors and herbalists – lies at the base of what follows. The citizens of Picnicess District in Grand Kru County have asked the famous traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo for help. Reportedly, over the years, they have suffered from mysterious disappearance and ritualistic acts leading to the loss of at least 56 lives. Hence their appeal to Tamba Bundo to help expose the people responsible for these unexplained disappearances and deaths.
Their appeal for help was taken seriously by highly placed government officials such as the Superintendent of Grand Kru County, Madam Doris N. Ylatun, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, and a legislator, Dr. Peter Coleman, Senator for Grand Kru County. In one way or the other they became involved in this traditional approach to solve a security problem in the area and to remove the anxiety of the Picnicess Community.
Allegedly, Chenakaleh in Picnicess District, Grand Kru County has witnessed between 40 and 50 mysterious deaths; among the victims we count two boys who went fishing and a Catechist of the St. Jude’s Catholic Church. If true this represents a serious security problem. Apparently, the country’s security forces have failed so far to apprehend anyone linked to one or more of the mysterious deaths or disappearances. It is important and significant to note that all three officials mentioned above have accepted the failure of regional and/or national security forces to intervene effectively.
Many questions emerge following the appeal of the Picnicess citizens. What did really happen in their community? Who were involved? Why didn’t the police arrest one or more suspects? Was there a cover-up, if yes, why, and who were (was) implicated? Of course it is very likely that it is just a coincidence, but could there be any relation with the forthcoming elections? It would not be the first time in Liberia’s history, but I wish to emphasize that this is only a theoretical thought; we have to be very prudent in pointing fingers without any substantial evidence or indication. There is no reason to suspect any particular person.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, It is a remarkable fact that the people of Picnicess District appeal to a native doctor for help to solve their security problem.
I must conclude that the citizens of Picnicess have no confidence in their government to protect them and to maintain the rule of law in their community. They prefer the protection and services of a traditional herbalist. This should be a wake-up call for the government of President George Weah, a Kru-Liberian who hails from this county. Let’s hope that this indeed will happen though for more than one reason I fear nothing will happen that will improve this sad and shameful situation (webmaster FVDK).
LIBERIA: Senator Coleman breaks silence over witchcraft activities in Picnicess, calls on herbalist Tamba Bundo to continue his work
Published: August 27, 2020 By: Global News Network Liberia – Emmanuel S. Koffa, GNN Correspondent, Grand Kru County
Dr. Peter Coleman, Grand Kru County Senator has finally broken silence over witchcraft activities in Picnicess where a native doctor who is currently doing a cleaning up work to expose people believed to be witches and wizards who reportedly have been killing innocent people, said the County Legislative will support the traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo activities in the county.
Speaking to Grandcess news on August 25 2020, Senator Coleman said, the Grand Kru County legislative Caucus acknowledged the good work of the traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo, and further stressed the need for the caucus to allow Tamba Bundo to perform his detail in the county without fear and favor.
Senator Coleman further noted that, Tamba Bundo will be giving a strong support by Caucus by providing effective security protection in the execution of his duty while in the County performing his traditional mandate.
Senator Coleman statement comes in the wake of misinformation that the Grand Kru County Caucus was not in the know, and has no interest in the traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo to perform traditional activities in the County aimed at bringing relief to the people of Picnicess, and Grand Kru County in general.
He disclosed that a delegation of the national council led by former chief-wing of Grand Kru people Swen Wleh will be coming to the county in an effort to guide the traditional ordeal in Picnicess with herbalist Tamba Bundo. He however maintained that, at no time the Caucus stop the ordeal as it is being alleged in the county. Meanwhile, Senator Coleman is asking the people of Picnicess to remain calm as all will be done to ensure that peace prevails in the fishing community.
Picnicess citizens say herbalist Tamba Bundo is doing well by exposing wizards and witches
Published: August 24, 2020 By: Global News Network Liberia – Cholo Brooks
Residents of Picnicess, Grand Kru County are calling on Liberian government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs to allow Tamba Bundo, a herbalist who was hired by citizens of the County to help expose those involved in ritualistic activities by killing innocent people through witchcraft.
Since his arrival in the county, according our Grand Kru County Correspondent, Tamba Bundo, the herbalist has been making significance improvement by exposing people believed to be wizards and witches who have reportedly led to the death of innocent people in the County.
Some of those who have been exposed as witches and wizards through the magical performances of Mr. Bundo are also demanding that he remain in the county to continue his work, and further expose the rest of their colleagues who are involved in the killing of innocent people in the county for ritualistic purposes.
Recently, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf announced that the ministry is not in the know of Mr. Bundo’s activities in the county, and further called on him to return to Monrovia for further interrogation.
But speaking to reporters in the county prior to the commencement of his operations, Mr. Bundo displayed documents from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to reporters which give him the authority to perform such activities at any location.
But with this latest development from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, residents of the area who spoke to GNN said they are saddened to hear that Mr. Bundo has been recalled, stressing that this move by the Minister may have been some members of the county legislative caucus who are allegedly behind such action.
Speaking to residents in the county, herbalist Bundo assured them of his return following consultation with his bosses at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, adding, “Please be patient I will come back to continue my work, don’t worry I will come back to continue my work”, Mr. Bundo told residents of the county.
Over the years, the people of Picnicess have suffered from mysterious disappearance and ritualistic acts leading to the loss of at least 56 lives. These inhumane acts have created fears in the hearts of the residents and nearby communities’ members as well as scaring away investors from developing interest to do business with that community.
This act which is becoming a culture or tradition in that part of Grand Kru County has reached an alarming stage thus leading the people of Picnicess to write a petition to the local county authority headed by Superintendent Doris N. Ylatun.
The petition which followed the disappearance of two boys who went fishing and the death of the Catechist of the St. Jude’s Catholic Church, sought justice for the inhumane and devilish acts that have been going on in that community. In the letter of petition, the community requested the presence of Herbalist Tamba Bundo to come and liberate the people of Picnicess from the hands of witches, wizards and ritualistic killers.
In an interview the county’s Superintendent Madam Doris N. Ylatun said: “Upon receiving the letter of petition from the Picnicess Community, I immediately informed and notified my boss Minister Varney A. Sirleaf the minister of Internal Affairs, about the request of the people of Picnicess.”
She continued that the notification, met the ministry’s approval of the request made by the people of Picnicess and promised to send the herbalist. The Superintendent said the arrival of the herbalist delayed because of the coronavirus Pandemic. In the interview Madam Ylatun said, on August 15, 2020, she received a letter from herbalist Bundo which is a permit letter from the Ministry of Internal Affairs specifically the Traditional Council mandating Herbalist Bundo to clean and protect the Picnicess community.
As the herbalist was about to commence his operation in the county, a release from the Ministry of Internal Affairs was seen on social media dating August 17,2020 indicating that the ministry did not licensed or ordered any herbalist within or around Liberia to carry on any activity. The Press Director at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Abraham S. Kromah confirmed that the ministry has not ordered Tamba’s operation in the county; adding that an investigating team is to arrive in the county for proper and further investigation into the matter. He made the statement in an interview via mobile phone on Grandcess Radio.
This statement brought down the faces of citizens in Picnicess into total tears and sadness.
Meanwhile herbalist Bundo in an exclusive interview with a team of reporters confirmed that he was licensed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In the interview, he displayed before the team of reporters the license that was given or awarded to him by the Ministry of Internal Affairs; adding that he does not have a copy of the permit as he has turned it over to the County Superintendent Madam Doris N. Ylatun.
The license shows that herbalist Tamba Bundo was licensed on the 18th day of March AD 2020, recommended by Chief Swen Wleh as well as been approved by the Chief of the Traditional Council of Liberia Chief Zanzan Karwo.
While in a mood of heartbrokenness, a three men delegation representing the Picnicess community appeared on Grandcess Radio breakfast show “Good Morning Grand Kru” on Friday August 21, 2020 to appeal to the local county authority and the county’s Legislative Caucus to help in talking or having dialogue with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to grant or allow Tamba to continue his work in Picnicess and the County.
The delegation on the radio program said they foresee genocide in that community if the herbalist is not allowed to perform the traditional rite he have started adding that this might leave some families to go into extinction. They narrated that people have already started fleeing the community for fear of their lives. A member of the three men delegation commented that “What is the stance of the government into this matter as the lives of the majority in Picnicess are in danger knowing that the government is establish to protect lives and property.”
The Ministry of Internal Affairs is now left with the decision to allow Tamba Bundo to continue his operation in that part of Grand Kru County.
Chenakaleh in Picnicess District, Grand Kru County, has witnessed mysterious deaths in recent days a Catholic Church brother, Joseph Nyenplue, totaling 40 on the 10th of July this year. To avenge the wrong on the perceived witchcrafts, people of the district have invited Witch Doctor Tamba Bundoo to challenge, and they (people) are optimistic that his intervention will ease the catastrophic situation confronting them in the district.
The Daily Observer has gathered that ‘Tamba’ was on Monday, August 17, expected to begin cleansing Chenakaleh of mysterious deaths, demonic attacks, and other sicknesses after a weekend discussion with Grand Kru County Superintendent Doris N. Ylatun and other officials.
It has been gathered that in order to avoid stigmatization and protest over the 40 persons who died over the years, Tamba has been instructed by the County Leadership to only consecrate Picnicess against any further witchcraft activities — meaning anyone who gets involved from henceforth in any witch activity after his cleansing exercise will “confess and die.”
It may be recalled that the unexplained July 10 death of the late Nyenplue caused Picnicess Community to petition the County Leadership through a protest seeking justice and nemesis.
According to reports from Picnicess, Tamba has invited the citizenry to witness his performances.
It might also be recalled that Grand Kru County Superintendent told the Daily Observerexclusively that there has been a spate of mysterious deaths of people since before her appointment at the administrative helm of the county in 2018, and recently in her tenure, at least five unexplained deaths occurred, bringing the death toll to 40.
She said killings are only done in Chenakaleh and the residents believe that not much has been done to find those behind the recent killings. Therefore, they are demanding a witch doctor, popularly named “Tamba,” to uncover the witches and cleanse the community.
“The County Leadership has agreed to the request of Chenakaleh to cleanse the community from witchcraft activities, ” Superintendent Ylatun said.
“We are expecting Tamba in the county soon, and we are hopeful that the mysterious killing will come to an end,” said Superintendent Ylatun.
The Superintendent indicated that the first appointed commissioner of Picnicess in 2018, Tokpa Geplah, also died mysteriously.
The late Commissioner allegedly disappeared en route to his house after fishing and up to his time, his body is yet to be found.