Liberia: ritualistic killings spark mob action in Maryland County (2005 article)

There are so many reports on ritualistic killings in Liberia, one should almost lose track. Below is another article, dating from 2005, on ritualistic murders in Maryland County, perhaps the most notorious region of Liberia as far as ritual murders are concerned. (webmaster FVDK)

Hanging of Convicted Ritual Killers (‘Harper Seven’) in Harper City, Maryland County (1979) – Picture by FVDK Fred van der Kraaij

Published: January 27, 2005
By Josephus Moses Gray – The Perspective 

Some panic-stricken inhabitants of the southeastern county of Maryland, mainly in Harper city, over the weekend took the law into their hands when they staged a violent protest over the wave of ritualistic killings which has re-surfaced in the area.

The county is noted for ritualistic killings, despite serious actions taken over the years by the Liberian government – by putting perpetrators to death by hanging while giving others lengthy prison sentences.

According to latest report emerging from the county, hundreds of angry residents came out to protest the alleged failure of the appropriate security apparatus to curtail the wave of ritualistic killings in the county.

During the violence demonstration staged by the youth of the county, several persons were victimized while several business houses and private homes were reportedly attacked and looted by the mobs. Liberia’s Justice Minister, Cllr. Kabineh Ja’neh told journalists in Monrovia this week that the mobs attacked the National Police Headquarters on Green Street in Harper and released several prisoners sentenced for various crimes.

The Justice Minister explained further that the mobs ransacked the Harper Police headquarters and flogged two detainees severely. The two victims, according to minister, have been accused of being involved in the ritualistic killing in the county.

In order to restore calm in the area, the transitional government has imposed a dust to dawn curfew in the county, while at the same time the government has instituted a thorough probe into circumstances that led to the mob action.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General Special Representative in Liberia, Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein told journalists in Monrovia that the UN Mission in Liberia is carefully studying the situation in the county.

According to the UN diplomat, UN peacekeepers are on standby to move into the county should the situation continue in an effort to help ensure the safety and security of the people of Maryland. Warning the residents to remain in doors during he curfew which run from 6: PM to 6:AM daily, ambassador Klein said UNMIL will provide full security for the people of the county.

The situation in the past led to severe punishment administered against convicted sons and daughters of the county, with some of them being publicly hanged to death, while others were given long prison sentences. Among those hanged were the former Superintendent of the County, James Anderson, Jr., Allen Yancy, Francis Nyepan, Philip Seton, Oldman Barclay and Madam Wreh Tarnyonoh, just to name few. They were hanged on 17th February 1979 during the regime of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. after a guilty verdict was brought down against them for killing a popular Kru traditional singer Moses Tweh.

Similar situation re-emerged in 1986 and took away the lives of two little kids in the county. Those connected to the act include former NDPL county chairman, David Clark, Alfred Davies, Jasper Bedell, Gbason Toe and one Gardner. They were arrested and brought to Monrovia where they were sentenced to prolong detention while under going investigation.

Another 200 persons were round-up by the former Superintendent of the county now Minister of Internal affairs, Minister H. Dan Morais for the mysterious death of Lt. Alphonso Chalde, former employee of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).

Source: Ritualistic Killings Spark Mob Action in Maryland

Liberia: Mob violence in Ganta: 16 charged with multiple crimes

The article below is related to my post dated March 26, 2019, on ‘Liberia: ‘Serial Ritualistic’ Killings Spark Mob Justice in Nimba County’. 
Warning: This article contains a graphic photo (bottom of the page)
(webmaster FVDK).

Published: April 10, 2019
By: Ishmael F. Menkor – Daily Observer 

In the recent mob violence in Ganta, Nimba County that resulted into the gruesome killing of two suspected “heartmen,” (ritual killers), the Liberia National Police (LNP) has charged 16 persons with multiple charges, and sent them to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie for prosecution.

According to the LNP Nimba County Crime Services Department (CSD), the 16 people were charged with murder, criminal conspiracy, and criminal mischief due to their connection with the recent mob violence in the county.

A police source informed the Daily Observer that there were several persons arrested, but after thorough investigation and screening, 16 were held liable for being at the center of the violence saga, while some were placed on parole to report regularly to the police.

On March 20, 2019, a large group of residents, among them some women, reportedly intercepted and ransacked a taxi cab that was transporting seven suspected murderers in Ganta, pulled the suspects and mobbed two of them to death.

According to information, the seven men were arrested in Bleevalay, Sea Gbeyi Administrative District for being allegedly connected to a skeleton that was discovered in a creek near the town.

No one has yet identified the person whose skeleton was discovered, but the entire issue flared up during confusion between two groups of people that resulted to a fistfight.

In the quarrel, one of the men accused his friend of being a witchcraft, while the other one too accused his friend of being involved with the killing of an unknown man that was later buried in a nearby creek.

Following a tipoff to police assigned in Saclepea, central Nimba County, concerning the startling revelation, the officers dropped the fighting case and mounted investigation into the alleged killing, thereby arresting all those linked to the act.

Several persons were detained for interrogation and, because of the nature of the case, the Saclepea Police Detail decided to send the suspects to Sanniquellie for further investigation.

Based on that, the police hired a commercial cab to transport the suspects. However, while en route to Sanniquellie, the taxi reportedly developed mechanical fault, thus making an abrupt stop before entering Ganta.

At that point, some residents, among them commercial motorcyclists, who heard of the story, reportedly mobbed two of the suspects to death, while another one that was badly wounded in the attack, was transferred to a nearby health facility for treatment.

Since the mob incident, police effected several arrests and later released those who they discovered were not involved, while those they investigated and established were directly connected to the mob violence sent to court for prosecution.

Our investigation continues.

Accused of being in possession of human skeleton, an angry mob beat two suspects to death, while a third is being treated at a medical facility in Ganta.

Source: In Ganta Mob Violence: 16 Charged With Multiple Crimes

Liberia: Albino society announces decrease in stigmatization

Time for some good news!
This site is devoted to the problem of ritualistic murders in Africa, superstition, the absence of justice, impunity, but it also focuses on the promotion of the rule of law, the defense of human rights, and related good news. Below follows such a ‘good news article’. There are too few of such good reports, but I will continue to bring you these as they are being published. (Webmaster FVDK)

Liberia: Albino society announces decrease in stigmatization

The Executive Director of the Liberia Albino Society (LAS), Ms. Patricia Logan, has announced a massive reduction on the stigmatization of its members. She blamed the high stigmatization in time past to lack of information and high illiteracy harbored by most Liberians.

Published: April 3, 2019
By: FrontPage Africa

Monrovia – The Executive Director of the Liberia Albino Society (LAS), Ms. Patricia Logan, has announced a massive reduction on the stigmatization of its members.

According to Ms. Logan, many Liberians now see people living with albinism as partners, family and friends.

She attributed the improvement of their aged-old nightmare to consistent outreach activities being carried out by her members.

“I am somehow relief as we have now crossed this big challenge,” she added.

She blamed the high stigmatization in time past to lack of information and high illiteracy harbored by most Liberians. She, however, states that it is now a different story with her constituents.

The LAS boss still calls for more awareness and sensitization in all parts of the country.

Ms. Logan also termed as untrue and misleading media reports that she has transferred employees’ salaries into her personal account.

“I don’t have authority to do that because every employee has his or her own bank account at UBA. They often go there to do transactions once they receive an alarm from the bank through text message. Moreover, I am not the financial person; so I am not involved with financial matters. This is very far from the truth,” she stressed.

Explaining further, she emphasized that if that were her practice, the government will not support her initiative because it is fighting against corruption, abuse of public funds and is promoting transparency and accountability.

She also spoke of the financial challenges LAS faces, indicating clearly that it is a national issue which is gradually been addressed by the government.

“We have some issues, but we are dialoging with the government to see the need to help us. 

According to her, since 2009, when LAS was founded, it has been rendering free health care services to its members, disadvantage women, children and the elderly. Ms. Logan promised that her leadership will continue to provide this support those groups in buttressing government’s pro poor agenda in the health sector.

She also took time to plead with international partners to also include their Liberia Albino Society in their development agenda as the society’s members have special needs for their hairs, skins, eyes and other medical conditions.

Liberia: Albino society announces decrease in stigmatization

Liberia: ‘serial ritualistic’ killings spark mob justice in Nimba County

Will it never end in Liberia? Will ritualistic murders ever stop in this country? Liberians blame the killings on the country’s contaminated judicial system and inefficiency, corruption, under-qualified lawyers and judges, lack of court facilities, transportation, and others resources, inadequate police investigation, shortage of public defenders, poor case management, and they believe the reintroduction of capital punishment would serve as serious deterrence to would be ritualistic killers. Unquote (see below).

But what is lacking in this ‘explanation’ is “superstition”, the belief that ritualistic practices including murder give the perpetrators or those who command these crimes wealth, political power and/or prestige. Moreover – in my view – any ‘solution’ of this age-old problem must include ‘education’ and the enforcement of the rule of law by objective, impartial and competent judges. (Webmaster FVDK)

Published: March 25, 2019
By: Franklin Doloquee, Nimba County Contributor, FrontPage Africa

On suspicion of ritualistic killings, two men mobbed to death in Ganta

Ganta, Nimba County – Mob violence has taken center stage in Nimba County as locals consider it a means of reprisal to a wave of alleged ritualistic killings happening in recent weeks.

Two men, who were accused of killings of a 14-month-old baby, were mauled to death while they were being transferred to the county’s capital for investigating. 

The two men were mauled by angry residents of the LPRC Community in Ganta. The incident occurred on March 19 when angry residents stormed the city, calling for the speedy investigation of the killings. 

The violence brought normal activities to a standstill leaving some police and Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency officers injured.

Earlier, seven men were accused of alleged ritualistic killings in Blavahlay Town, District #7 and they were taken to Sanniquellie for investigation.

The issue of mobbed violence is now on the increase in Nimba County with Ganta experiencing the most incidents, a FrontPageAfrica reporter in the county said. At least 10 persons have been reported killed as a result of mob violence in the last two years.

Since the March 19 incident, the police presence has increased in the county and 93 suspects have been arrested in connection with the disturbance. They are currently in Gbarnga, Bong County undergoing investigation.

The alleged ritualistic killings and subsequent unrests have destabilized Ganta, a major commercial city in northern Liberia. It is drawing concerns for people from all walks of life.

At the weekend, over 200 women under the banner Nimba Women for Peace and Reconciliation presented a position statement on the increase of ritualistic killings in the county recently.

The women, from the 17 administrative districts of the county, gathered at the Christian Bible Church in Ganta. They were very angry and called on the government to combat the strange killings.

The heads of several women groups in the county expressed their dismay and called for swift actions from the government.  

They said, “their children are now living in fear, they are not going to schools, and they should not be used for to rich themselves with our children that are the future leaders of the nation”.

The women presented a position statement to the county leadership but only a county official was present. 

The Nimba Women for Peace and reconciliation lamented that since the increased of ritualistic killing in the county, “the local authority continues to remain silent while children are going missing”.

They stressed that they feel obliged to undertake the cause to condemn “these evil acts by people who are interested in nothing else but just of power and money”.

They also called for calm among families of victims while urging local leaders and the county lawmakers to stand behind their effort and combat the increase killings in their communities.

The gathering comes four days after the lifeless body of an infant was discovered in Ganta. The body was discovered burned and it was said to be a 14-months-old child.

Another child was reported missing at the Ganta general market while there have been reports of several other alleged killings of children in the county.

There have been brewing tension in the county with hundreds of residents threatening mob justice, prompting the women to emphasized the importance of the government’s intervention.

And the women stressed that timely intervention will avoid a ongoing negative reaction from the public, that is already frustrated and showing a lack of confidence in the authorities and security actors.

The women then called on the government to launch an investigation into the “killing and missing of innocent children in the communities and bring the perpetrators to book and keep the public constantly abreast of the progress of such investigation”.

At the same time, rights advocates in the county have termed the “strange killings of children as  “a blatant violation of human rights”.

According to the Executive Director for KIDS Foundation Liberia Augustine Dahn, in the past years, several children and adults had gone missing and were later discovered dead with parts of their bodies extracted for ritual purposes. (Italics added by the webmaster FVDK).

The group joined the Nimba Women for Peace and Reconciliation to condemned the killings and called on government to reintroduce capital punishment.

The group argues that the increasing wave of these human rights violations can be blamed on the country’s “contaminated judicial system and inefficiency, corruption, under-qualified lawyers and judges, lack of court facilities, transportation, and others resources, inadequate police investigation, shortage of public defenders, poor case management.” The management of Kids foundation believes the reintroduction of capital punishment would serve as serious deterrence to would be ritualistic killers.

Source: Liberia: ‘Serial Ritualistic’ Killings Spark Mob Justice in Nimba County

Nimba County, Liberia

Liberia: ritual killings, witch trials go unpunished (2015)

Nine cases of suspected ritualistic killing have been reported to the United Nations since 2012, but local media say there have been at least 10 related murders since this summer

Published: December 18, 2015 Updated 16:22 GMT
By: Reuters

Ritual killings, witch trials go unpunished in Liberia

DAKAR, Dec 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Liberia must tackle a widespread culture of impunity for perpetrators of ritual killings and trials of ordeal and put its human rights obligations before such traditional practices, the United Nations rights chief said on Friday.

Authorities are reluctant to investigate or prosecute such cases, fearful of a backlash from practitioners and politicians, while some state officials are even part of the secret societies that perform the practices, said a U.N. report.

Women, children, the elderly and the disabled are the main victims of harmful cultural practices, including female genital mutilation (FGM) and initiation into secret societies, it said.

“Criminal offences perpetrated through harmful traditional practices often go unpunished due to their perceived cultural dimensions,” said the joint report from the U.N. Mission in Liberia and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“This has generated a widespread culture of impunity among traditional actors,” it said.

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last month vowed to crack down on those responsible for a rise in ritual killings in the West African nation.

Nine cases of suspected ritualistic killing have been reported to the United Nations since 2012, but local media say there have been at least 10 related murders since this summer. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK).

They occur in some African nations due to a belief that body parts can work magic to obtain success or political power.

It is not yet clear why ritual killings are rising, but the report warned of an increase ahead of national elections in 2017, and some residents have speculated that presidential hopefuls are using black magic to boost their chances.

The report also documented the prevalence of FGM, widely performed by the women’s secret society Sande, and abductions, torture and gang-rapes carried out by the male society Poro.

Many women and children in Liberia are accused of witchcraft, and face “exorcism” rituals, trials by ordeal, expulsion or even death, according to the report.

The trials involve the accused being subjected to pain, such as poison or burning, to determine their innocence or guilt.

“Liberia’s human rights obligations must take precedence over any local practices considered to be ‘cultural’ or ‘traditional’ where such practices are incompatible with human rights,” said U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

Source: Ritual killings, witch trials go unpunished in Liberia – U.N.

Liberia is located at the west cost of Africa

Wave of ritual killings in Liberia (2015)

The following article  can be found in the AllAfrica archive, which requires a subscription. Unfortunately, the original article, which was published by The News, a Liberian newspaper, is no longer available on the internet. Interested readers are advised to follow the instructions below.  (Webmaster FVDK).

Published: December 4, 2015
By: The News

Liberia: Our people are frightened 

EDITORIAL

The Recent Wave of ritual killings in Liberia have got the entire country petrified, particularly in Monrovia where the bodies of several people allegedly killed for ritual purposes are found. These killings continue to occur in spite of commitment by the Liberian government that it would deal with the situation.

Last Month, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf vowed to crack down on those responsible for ritual killings in the country. Yet, it would appear no progress has been made by the government to set a dragnet for those responsible for killing innocent men, women and children.

(………)

You must be an allAfrica.com subscriber for full access to this article.

For more information about subscribing to allAfrica, please read the subscription and contribution overview. If you’re ready to subscribe, please go directly to our secure server.

Source: Liberia: Our people are frightened

Liberia is located on the west coast of Africa

Liberia: Rise in ritual killings prompts president Sirleaf to pledge security crackdown

On numerous occasions Liberian leaders have publicly denounced the ritual murders that take place in the country. We can mention President William Tolbert (1971-1980), Gyude Bryant (Chair of the Transitional Government after the Second Civil War, 2003-2006) and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006-2018). The fact that the presidents Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor were not so outspoken on this subject, certainly not in public, has special reasons……..  

The article below on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s warning and reaction does not constitute the first and only time that she denounced the phenomenon of ritualistic killings in her country. More on it at a later stage.
(Webmaster FVDK) 

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says increase in ritualistic killings and armed robbery are threatening security

Published: November 20, 2015
By: The Guardian 

Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, vowed on Thursday to crack down on those responsible for a rise in ritual killings in the west African country as it seeks to emerge from the shadow of an Ebola epidemic.

In some areas of central Africa, body parts are prized for their supernatural powers and are used in black magic ceremonies. Local media have reported at least 10 related murders in Liberia in the past few months. (Italics added by the webmaster, FVDK).

Johnson Sirleaf said in a speech: “We are witnessing the rise in what appears to be ritualistic killings and armed robbery in the country, thus threatening our security.” 

“I am instructing the security forces to rigorously enforce the law to the letter and bring this ugly situation under immediate control.”

It is not yet clear why ritual killings are rising and Johnson Sirleaf offered no explanation. Some residents have speculated that presidential hopefuls seeking to replace Johnson Sirleaf when her final term expires in 2017 are using black magic to boost their chances.

Liberia was declared Ebola-free for the second time in September after reporting more than 4,800 deaths but its economy is struggling to recover.

Johnson Sirleaf said in the same speech she would seek to boost power supply and access to electricity and build additional infrastructure in the last two years of her term.

Source: Rise in ritual killings in Liberia prompts president to pledge security crackdown

Liberia: More women in ritualistic killings in Sinoe County

As I continue to say, both on this site and on my website Liberia Past and Present, the phenomenon of ritual killings has never completely disappeared in Liberia. Originally a cultural practice, nowadays it is closely linked to politics, elections and the greed for (more) wealth and power.  At this particular moment in time it is not known what the background and linkages are of the ritualistic killings in Sinoe County disclosed here by County Attorney Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah. As soon as we learn more about these cases we will come back with the relevant news. (FVDK)

For more details on Liberia’s history of ritual murders, see Ritual Killings in Liberia: From Cultural Phenomenon to Political Instrument

Flashback: Scene of the most famous ritualistic killing ever in Liberian history that occurred in Maryland County in the 1970s

Published: January 25, 2019
By: The New Dawn

County Attorney for Sinoe Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah has disclosed that more women have been caught for ritualistic killings in Sinoe County, southeast Liberia.

Speaking to a team of journalists at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, 24 January, Cllr. Karnuah disclosed that cases of ritualistic killings have topped the docket.

He narrates that six out of 20 women were arrested by police officers, charged and placed behind bars for the alleged crime of ritualistic killings.

Cllr. Karnuah tells the interview that during the police raid, the key perpetrator was arrested, but she was very boastful in her utterances, noting that the matter would end up nowhere.

According to Cllr. Karnuah, the issue of ritualistic killing is said to be taking place in January this year in the district of Numorpor which has its own superintendent and other county officials.

According to him, one of the ritualistic killing incidents took place when the mother of a little boy left him on the farm to go out to fetch some pepper, bitter balls and other food substances for cooking.

He says upon the lady’s arrival, she realized that her son was missing.

Cllr. Karnuah explains that after days of searching without a trace of the missing boy, his father decided to use the help of a herbalist.

The lawyer says upon the father’s return, his wife was said to be part of the crime.

The county attorney says the mother made confession that she was part of the devilish club and it was now time for her to give her own son as a share of her sacrifice.
But he says the lady escaped along with three other women who also confessed to be witchcrafts.

He notes that while the women were in the bush, they were pursued by some men in the community who caught and stripped them naked and gang raped them until one of the ladies identified as Wallet Nyenweh was allegedly killed in the process.

The lawyer narrates that during the trial, he ordered the body of the dead woman exhumed in other to prove the alleged gang rape which was said to have caused her death.

Source: 
https://thenewdawnliberia.com/more-women-in-ritualistic-killings-in-sinoe/

Ganta, Liberia : Alvino Hotel, ransacked in 2015, resurrected

The first reproduced article below is not meant to express my belief in the involvement or guilt of any of the persons linked to the alleged ritual killing referred to in the article. With this article I want to focus both on the ‘never ending’ practice of ritual murders in Liberia and on the mob justice that took place in Ganta, Liberia, on September 30, 2015. The riots following another ritual murder in the area illustrate one of the main messages of the present site: the need for more respect for the laws of the country – by its citizens – and the strengthening of the rule of law – by the national authorities.

On September 30, 2015 a mob ransacked the Alvino Hotel in Ganta, owned by Prince Howard, burnt down his private residence and even destroyed the three-storey minimart, speculating that he was behind a ritual murder that allegedly had been committed in the city. The suspected ritualistic killing was the third murder in Nimba County within a relatively short period of time. As repeatedly said, the phenomenon of ritual killings has never completely disappeared in Liberia. The death of a motorcyclist by the hands of a ritual killer was followed by widespread riots. At one point, the government even decided to impose a curfew. For more information on the incident mentioned, the riots, as well as the three ritual murders, please read the following reproduced articles.
Warning: some photos and articles contain graphic details. 

(Webmaster FVDK)

Following arson attack in 2015, leading hotel in Ganta back in business

Partial view of the new Alvino Hotel in Ganta

Published: September 27, 2018
By: Ishmael F. Menkor
Daily Observer

After years of devastation, the Alvino Hotel in Ganta has now reopened to the public, with new design and with modern facilities.

Opening ceremony, which was held on Saturday, September 22, 2018, brought together some high profile bankers and business executives of Liberia, including president of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), John B. S. Davies and his predecessor, Mr. Francis A. Dennis; as well as the President of Liberia Business Association, among others.

In his opening remark, the proprietor of the Alvino Hotel, Prince Howard, explained his ordeal about how his hotel was destroyed and the resilience it took to have the hotel restored. He praised LBDI for assisting him the process of reconstructing the building.

“With resilience, I championed the cost of reconstructing the facility to restore hope to those who rely on the investment for employment,” he said. “With the invaluable assistance of the LBDI, I was able to work, not just to restore the existing structure and facility, but improve it to international standard.”

The Alvino Hotel suffered an arson attack by an angry mob on September 30, 2015, when they linked Howard to the death of a motorcyclist who was found brutally murdered in Ganta. The mob ransacked the hotel, burnt down his private residence and even destroyed the three-storey minimart, speculating that he was behind the killing for ritual purposes.

He condemned the act and considered the perpetrators as “limited in life”, saying, “blood does not make money, so we should stop deadly envy and invest in infrastructure.”

“Liberians, let us invest in ourselves and the LBDI, our Liberian bank, because it through the LBDI that I was able to build the first Alvino and now this new one,” he said.

LBDI president Davies said he was disappointed and frustrated when heard people say that Alvino was built with blood money, in spite of the fact that LBDI had loaned Mr. Howard US$100,000 for the first construction. He said all of this happened because the state failed to protect taxpayers against violence.

Mr. Davies explained that following the attack, they tried by all means to get the state to pay for the damaged properties, but their efforts failed.

He said the LBDI will not allow the investment of its entrepreneurs go into ashes. Therefore, after their efforts to get the government for the damage failed, the LBDI decided to loan Howard another US$300,000 to rebuild the hotel.

He said that LBDI will continue to support the hotel until every aspect or condition is improved.

Senator Oscar Cooper thanked the LBDI for the support given Prince Howard for the second time. “It is the private sector that will support this country,” he said, calling on the government to do more to help businesses.

He urged the management of new Alvino to insure the property and encouraged Liberians to be strong in business and stop relying on government.

Francis Dennis, former president of LBDI and of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, encouraged Howard to keep on, saying, “A setback is a set up for comeback.”

The new Alvino Hotel is one of the leading hotels in Ganta, with electronic doors, a modern conference room with wireless projector, modern bar and restaurant and two presidential suites.

Meanwhile, Howard has named the night club “9/30”, in memory of the event that devastated his properties.

Source: Alvina Hotel Resurrected

Below a number of related articles:

45 Charged in Ganta violence

Published: October 19, 2015
By: The New Democrat

The Liberia National Police (LNP) has charged 45 suspects in the Ganta violence in Nimba County with murder, property theft, riot and arson.

Police deputy spokesman, Lewis Norman told the New Democrat Wednesday, the LNP has concluded its investigation of perpetrators of the Ganta violence and 45 people were charged accordingly and are awaiting trial.

He disclosed that three persons, Bill Lawrence, Tony Sekie and Fanta Kamara were charged with murder in connection with the killing of the motorcyclist near the Methodist Compound in Ganta city. The killing sparked the violence.
Other suspects were charged with theft of property, rioting and arson.

Angry residents of Ganta City, including motorcyclists on September 30 went on the rampage to protest the mysterious death of Milton Weatgbeh, believed to be a motorcyclist and set business houses and the residence of a local businessman Prince Howard ablaze.

Mob justice in Ganta following a third ritual murder. An angry crowd suspected the owner of the vino Hotel, Prince Howard, being involved in the recent ritual killing.

The protesters also set up roadblocks and looted other businesses in the city to avenge the death of the motorcyclist whose body was found near the Ganta United Methodist High School sports pitch.

Prince Howard, owner of the Alvino Hotel in Ganta City was accused of masterminding the killing of motorcyclist Weatgbeh for ritualistic purposes, an allegation the businessman denied.

Norman explained that Howard was also investigated but because nothing established his involvement with the death of the motorcyclist, he was set free.

He noted the Police have nothing with Mr. Howard because the person who implicated him was killed in the Ganta turmoil, leaving the police with no evidence to hold Prince Howard culpable for murder.

Information Minister Lewis G. Brown at the MICAT regular press briefing Tuesday noted there was a growing public concerns about mob violence as the UNMIL drawdown gains momentum.
Mr. Brown said in 2015 alone, Montserrado, Sinoe, Grand Bassa, River Gee and Nimba counties have experienced mob violence. He said mob violence is mob injustice, which undermines the rule of law.

“The rule of law may not always deliver what we may want, but it keeps the society safe and peaceful,” he emphasized.

The Information Minister also disclosed that according to UNMIL reports, from January to September 2013 there were 46 mob related incidents and 32 in the same period in 2012.

Source: 45 charged in Ganta violence

And: 

Liberia: Weak Justice System Promotes Violence

Published: October 8, 2018
By:The New Dawn /  Liberian Law Makers Watch

Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee, has cautioned here that weak and delayed justice system promotes mob violence, something, he said should not be the case of Liberia.

Sen. Grupee, who is the Senate Committee Chair on Internal Affairs,described as unfortunate, the recent bloody violence in Ganta, Nimba County, which led to loss of lives and properties. Speaking to members of the Legislative Press Pool Wednesday at the Capitol Building, he said gone are those days when people took the laws into their hands, while emphasizing the need for the justice system in Liberia to become pro­active to win public trust or else, people will always want pay back whenever they realized things are not handled speedily by the national government.

Senator Grupee noted that in barely one month, the people of Nimba experienced three suspected ritualistic killings in the county, but the government has delayed in responding to those incidents. The Lawmaker however clarified that he does not support the action of his kinsmen in killing and burning down private and public properties in an apparent reprisal attack.

According to him, the best option to maintaining peace and stability in Liberia is for government to serve victims of injustice by making the justice system speedily pro­active. Senator Grupee made these assertions after returning from a public account conference in Lome, Togo where he represented the country.

Chaos erupted in Ganta,Nimba County last week Wednesday when angry mob attacked the Ganta Police Station, including an office of the Drugs Enforcement Agency following the reported discovery of the dead body of a motorcyclist near The Ganta Methodist compound.

The deceased was discovered lying in a pool of blood around the 404 community in Ganta with deep cuts on his head. The angry mob, mostly youths, stormed the Ganta Police Station, damaged a Police vehicle, and looted the entire police station before breaking into a police withholding cell and releasing inmates there.

The mob subsequently set ablaze a local business center, Avino Hotel and theprivate residence of a local businessman, Prince Howard. Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia thru the Ministry of Justice in Monrovia has launched an investigation into the Ganta violence following several arrests by the Liberia National Police.

Source: Liberia: Weak Justice System Promotes Violence

And:

Curfew imposed in Ganta

Published: October 1, 2015
By: Franklin Doloquee, NImba, with additional reporting by Winston Parley in Monrovia
The New Dawn, Liberia

2015 – Ganta, Liberia – Violence after a series of ritual murders

Private properties were set ablaze in addition to a police station, as angry residents, mostly youths went on the rampage demanding justice for a 14-year old motorcyclists  whose body was discovered near the United Methodist Compound in Ganta, Nimba County.

The victim, reportedly hailed from Gipo Town, electoral district# 8, but was a resident of Ganta up to his death. The angry youths including motorcyclists of Ganta and adjacent areas destroyed several private properties, particularly businesses owned by a prominent resident, Prince Howard, accused of involvement into the deceased’s death.

The victim has been identified as Melton Wehgbay. His death followed the discovery of another dead motorcyclist few days ago in the same county. 15-year-old Josephus Yeawon, a resident of  Peace Community in Ganta, was reportedly invited by his 17-year-old colleague, Josiah Balmo, to go for a palm wine ride along the Ganta-Saclepea highway when he was similarly found dead.

Earlier, a seven-year-old girl, who had reportedly gone missing on August 7, 2015, was found dead with several body parts missing.

The angry residents also mobbed a resident of Congo community in Ganta to death. The deceased was identified as ‘Decent Boy’, 28.
He was attacked after the angry crowd spotted bloodstain on his motorbike, thus, suspecting him of involvement into the death of Melton Wehgbay. The rioters ransacked and  looted several public buildings, including the Drugs Enforcement Agency office, office of the Mayor of Ganta and the police station in Ganta before moving onto Mr. Prince Howard’s compound that contains a three storey building and setting it ablaze.
The whereabouts of Mr. Howard and his entire family are said to be unknown.  Normal activities in Ganta, including school and businesses were at a standstill on Wednesday due to  the violence with the authorizes declaring a curfew.

Meanwhile, riot police officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) from Monrovia and the Police Support Unit (PSU) from the Gbarnga Regional Hub have been dispatched to Ganta in response to the chaos that led to the destruction of private and public properties.
On Wednesday, 30 September the rioters in Ganta set free 22 detainees who were in police cell and then set the police station ablaze in Ganta, Deputy Police Spokesman Mr. Lewis Norman told reporters yesterday afternoon.

The authorities here in Monrovia say they have arrested six persons in connection to the vandalism in Ganta, but they told reporters that the situation was under control and urged the public to remain calm. Mr. Norman listed those arrested in after the violent riot as Jackie Lannon, Armstrong Zayzay, Oswa Gbangbay, Ericson Samuel, Francis Togbah and Abraham Jalloh.

The violence began when a dead body believed to be that of a motorcyclist was discovered around the Methodist Compound in Ganta; with rumor further being spread that another corpse believed to be a man identified as Milton Kpaklah had also been discovered in one Prince Howard’s house in Ganta.

Prior to the alleged discoveries of a corpose in Mr. Howard’s house and the one near the Methodist Compound, suspects David Lawrence and Asha Fofana had been held in police custody for the alleged disappearance of two persons in the area.
In the aftermath of claim by the rioters that a body was in Mr. Howard’s house, Police say rioters burnt both his car and house, and a local hotel called Alvion on Sanniquellie Road in Ganta. Investigators are yet to attach cost to the violence, but Mr. Norman says the situation has been brought under control.

Source: Curfew imposed in Ganta

And:

Motorcyclist found dead with missing body parts

Published: September 29, 2015
By: Franklin Doloquee, Nimba, Edited by Jonathan Browne
The New Dawn, Liberia

The remains of a 15-year-old motorcyclist, who reportedly went missing in Ganta, have been found with several body parts missing in electoral district #8, Nimba County.

The late Josephus Yeawon, was allegedly invited last week Tuesday, 22 September by a 17-year-old friend, Jacob Blamo, to go for a ‘palm wine ride’ on the Ganta-Saclepea highway when he met his demise under circumstances suspected to be ritualistic killing.

His body was found with several parts, including throat, eyes, tongue, ears and heart cut off. The NewDawn Nimba correspondent says the mysterious death of Josephus brings to two the number of motorcyclists discovered dead in the county in less than a year.

The incident has created serious panic among residents of Ganta, including citizens of district #8. The deceased’s body was found between Blohn Town and Whyla Town in the district.  A lady, who spoke to this paper following news of Josephus’ death, expressed fear for her own life.

Kou Paye, a marketer in Ganta, lamented that when suspected murderers are arrested in Nimba, the county’s lawmakers allegedly intervene to have them released, wondering how could such behavior stop.
She specifically pointed accusing fingers at Nimba County electoral district #5 Representative, Samuel Kogar, who allegedly wrote a letter recently to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie, demanding the release of a murder suspect charged by the court.

The suspect, Stephen Monwon, is now a free man, going about his normal business in Bleeplay, Nimba County. Meanwhile, no arrest has been made in connection with the mysterious death of motorcyclist Josephus Yeawon. His friend, Jacob Blamo, who allegedly invited him for a ‘palm wine ride’ has not been called in for questioning.

Source: Motorcyclist found dead with missing body parts

More:

Top Nimba County businessman linked to the ritual murder of a motorcyclist 

Published: September 30, 2015
By: Global News Network, GNN Liberia

Property of businessman Prince Howard set ablaze by angry crowd

Following the brutal murder of a motorcyclist during the week in Ganta City, Nimba County by unknown persons, dozens of motorcyclists, and women groups have reportedly taken the entire City hostage in retaliation to the death of a motorcyclist.

According to our Nimba County Correspondent, during the clashes which are ongoing, additional two persons have been pronounced dead as angrily roiters stormed the entire city, making commercial activities to come to complete halt.

Some of those arrested in connection to the death of the motorcyclist, according to our Correspondent have linked the owner of the most famous Alvino Hotel, Prince Howard of been behind the death of the motorcyclist.

The detained suspects during police investigation said they were instructed by Mr. Howard to brutally kill their victims early Tuesday morning, September 29, 2015 in Ganta.

According to our Correspondent in Ganta, the Police detachment in the County has been arrested and detained Mr. Howard for his alleged linked to the murder of the motorcycle.

Our Correspondent further said angry motorcyclists have looted and burnt to down the residence of Mr. Howard, while police have barricaded the Alvino Hotel owned by the accused.

Some of the angry motorcyclists who spoke to our Correspondent alleged that the accused is always noted of performing ritual through the making of human sacrifices for wealth.

Youthful Prince Howard owned the most beautiful hotels in the County.

Detail will follow in our subsequent posting.

Source: Liberia: Top Nimba County Businessman Links To The Murder Of A Motorcyclist

And another article:

Curfew imposed in northern Liberia after ritual killings spark protests

Published: October 1, 2015
Reporting by Alphonso Toweh and James Harding Giahyue; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by James Dalgleish (Reuters)

Ganta, Nimba County: Angry residents went on the rampage demanding justice

MONROVIA (Reuters) – Authorities imposed a curfew in a town in northern Liberia after violent protests following a wave of suspected ritual killings, authorities said on Wednesday.

Residents of Ganta on the border with Guinea said protests began after the killing of a motorcyclist on Wednesday. That came just a day after the discovery of the body of a 13-year-old girl who had disappeared weeks earlier.

A local police commander said one person was killed and several were wounded in the protests, in which several properties were destroyed. Government officials in Monrovia did not confirm the death.

“We will not hesitate to bring to book anyone in connection with this violence,” Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh said in a national address. He said six people had been arrested for their part in the protests.

The girl’s death was the most recent in what is believed to be a years-long string of ritualistic killings in the area that have been blamed by local residents on politicians and businessmen seeking political power.

Though relatively rare, cases of ritual murders have been recorded in several African countries, with body parts sometimes used in ceremonies believed to confer supernatural powers. Children are particularly sought out as targets.

Residents said violence erupted after two people who were arrested for the girl’s murder said a local businessman had hired them to perform it.

A police spokesman said that rioters also broke into Ganta’s police station and released 22 prisoners. He said the businessman has been arrested in Banga in the centre of Liberia.

Source: Curfew imposed in northern Liberia after ritual killings spark protests

And another article:

RITUAL ABUSE IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: Psychological, Forensic, Social and Political Implications Kindle Edition by Randy Noblitt (Editor), Pamela Perskin (Editor)

Published: October 1. 2015
By: Child Abuse Blog

Allegations of ritual abuse are universal and mental health professionals, theologians, law enforcers, scholars, victim advocates, and others struggle to comprehend the enormity of the devastation left in the wake of these heinous acts. Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-first Century addresses the concerns that naturally evolve from any discussion of this phenomenon from the perspectives of professionals, advocates, and survivors from around the world. How valid are the survivors’ stories? Is there evidence? What are the consequences of these acts to the individual and society? Why have these allegations been ignored or discredited whenever they have surfaced? The authors of these chapters respond to these and other questions in an effort to illustrate the constellation of psychological, health, legal, criminal, societal, and spiritual ramifications of ritual abuse.

Amazon’s Look Inside allows readers to preview the first three chapters:

Chapter 1: Rituals: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Noblitt

Chapter 2: Redefining the Language of Ritual Abuse and the Politics that Dictate It
Noblitt & Perskin-Noblitt

Chapter 3: Exploring Commonalities Reported by Adult Survivors of Extreme Abuse: Preliminary Empirical Findings
Rutz, Becker, Overkamp, & Karriker
http://www.amazon.com/RITUAL-ABUSE-TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY-Psychological-ebook/dp/B01134QYLK/

Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-First Century: Psychological, Forensic, Social and Political Considerations

Allegations of ritual abuse are universal and mental health professionals, theologians, law enforcers, scholars, victim advocates, and others struggle to comprehend the enormity of the devastation left in the wake of these heinous acts.

Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-first Century addresses the concerns that naturally evolve from any discussion of this phenomenon from the perspectives of professionals, advocates, and survivors from around the world….

The authors of these chapters respond to these and other questions in an effort to illustrate the constellation of psychological, health, legal, criminal, societal, and spiritual ramifications of ritual abuse.

Chapters address current issues including ritually based crime, civil suits involving allegations of ritual abuse, that are universal.

The value of understanding ritual trauma for diagnostic and treatment applications is discussed.
http://rdrpublishers.com/products/ritual-abuse-in-the-twenty-first-century-psychological-forensic-social-and-political-considerations

Curfew imposed in northern Liberia after ritual killings spark protests
Source: Reuters – Thu, 1 Oct 2015

MONROVIA, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Authorities imposed a curfew in a town in northern Liberia after violent protests following a wave of suspected ritual killings, authorities said on Wednesday.

Residents of Ganta on the border with Guinea said protests began after the killing of a motorcyclist on Wednesday. That came just a day after the discovery of the body of a 13-year-old girl who had disappeared weeks earlier….

The girl’s death was the most recent in what is believed to be a years-long string of ritualistic killings in the area that have been blamed by local residents on politicians and businessmen seeking political power.

Though relatively rare, cases of ritual murders have been recorded in several African countries, with body parts sometimes used in ceremonies believed to confer supernatural powers. Children are particularly sought out as targets.

Residents said violence erupted after two people who were arrested for the girl’s murder said a local businessman had hired them to perform it….
http://www.trust.org/item/20150930215054-ekn5g/

Source: Ritual abuse in the twenty-first century

Another article:

Boy, 17, get life sentence
Published:
By: Franklin Doloquee, Nimba, Edited by Jonathan Browne
The New Dawn

17-year-old Jacob Vanboe, convicted of murder (left) and the corpse of the late Cephus Yeanwon (right)

Jacob Vanboe was sentenced for the murder of Cephes Yeanwon

The Eight Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie, Nimba County has sentenced a 17-year-old boy to life imprisonment for killing his 16-year-old friend, Cephus Yeanwon.

Convict Jacob Vanboe, a resident of Ganta City, in Nimba was sentenced after he cajoled his 16-year-old friend Cephus Yeanwon, a motorcyclist, to go for a ride with him along the Ganta-Saclepea Highway in Nimba County in order to get some palm wine, a locally produced beverage to drink when he murdered the victim and extracted parts from his body.

The convict on September 22, 2015, conspired and murdered Cephus Yeanwon. Both Jacob Vanboe and the late Cephus Yeanwon were resident of the Royal Community in Ganta prior to his murder. The deceased corpse was discovered four days later between Blohn and Wallah towns along the Ganta-Saclepea Highway.

Reading the final verdict at the Eight Judicial Circuit Court, Resident Judge Emery Paye said, the decision was in keeping with an unanimous guilty verdict brought down by the grand jury besides evidence adduced by prosecutors during the trial.

However, the life sentence for a 17-year-old boy has sparked debate in Ganta with some residents arguing that Jacob Vanboe could not had been braved enough to act alone, and that there may be some conspirators hiding somewhere, who should equally be brought to justice.

Residents are calling on the Liberia National Police and other state security to investigate further and bring all those connected with the crime to book. Following the verdict, the 17-year-old convict wept and pleaded for mercy as he was being taken to prison.

Source: Boy, 17, gets life sentence

Ganta is the capital of Nimba County, Liberia

Liberia’s elections, ritual killings and cannibalism (2011)

I have written extensively about Liberia’s history of ritual killings, in books, articles, and on my website ‘Liberia: Past and Present of Africa’s Oldest Republic‘, notably in the section ‘Past and Present of Ritual Killings: From Cultural Phenomenon to Political Instrument‘.

I was confronted with the phenomenon of ritualistic murders in Liberia when living in Monrovia – where I taught at the University of Liberia – and, later, in Harper, capital of Maryland County, in the second half of the 1970s. In Harper I witnessed the public execution of the Harper Seven, in 1979. They were convicted of the ritual murder of a fisherman and popular singer, Moses Tweh, and sentenced to death by hanging. The trial of the Harper Seven turned out to be Liberia’s most notorious ritual killing case.

Big shots’ were involved, such as Maryland County’s Superintendent, Daniel Anderson – son of the Chairman of Liberia’s only political party, the True Whig Party – and Allen Yancy, member of the House of Representatives for Maryland County and cousin of former Liberian president William Tubman (1944 – 1971). Reportedly, Allen Yancy had been involved in previous ritual murder cases but he was never convicted, allegedly because of Tubman’s protection.
Ritualistic killings in Liberia have been rampant, and I fear the gruesome practice has far from disappeared – as is demonstrated by the article reproduced below.

The article reproduced below summarizes well Liberia’s recent history of ritualistic murders. What used to be a cultural phenomenon – human sacrifices for the well-being of the clan or tribe – has become a political instrument, used by unscrupulous politicians and businessmen to further their interests.

I will not dwell too long here on these atrocities and outdated but persistent beliefs in supernatural powers. Readers are invited to visit my website for more details.

Last but not least, my publications on ritual murders in Liberia became the prelude to the present website on ritual killings in Africa in general. See the site’s menu, notably the section ‘Why publish this site?

Public execution by hanging of the ‘Harper Seven’, including Maryland Superintendent Daniel Anderson and Representative Allen Yancy, at dawn in Harper, Liberia on February 16, 1979. Picture taken by Fred van der Kraaij (copyrights).


Liberia’s elections, ritual killings and cannibalism

Published: August 01, 2011 · 10:52 AM UTC
By: Emily Schmall and Wade Williams

MONROVIA, Liberia — The pregnant woman was found dead in the shallows of Lake Shepherd. The fetus had been removed.

A candidate for Liberia’s Senate and a former county attorney are among those standing trial for the 2009 murder, the latest in a long history of ritual sacrifices performed for political power in Liberia.

In this case in southeastern Maryland County, prosecutors were tipped off by a witch doctor who provided a list of 18 people allegedly connected to the killing, including Fulton Yancy, the former county attorney, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Special Envoy and Ambassador-at-Large Dan Morias.

Vials of blood were discovered in Yancy’s home. Nine were charged with murder but were released earlier this month following a Supreme Court ruling.

Liberia will have general elections later this year and the ritual killings tend to flare up during election season, according to Jerome Verdier, former chairman of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

”Unfortunately it happens during elections time because people are competing for political power, they don’t know God and they believe that these supernatural powers will come to them once human blood is shed,” Verdier said.

During Liberia’s two-decades-long civil war hundreds were killed for ritual purposes, the TRC discovered during its hearings.

”During our research at the TRC we found out that bloodshedding was very, very common during the conflict. People killed indiscriminately women and children believing that it would give them some power to continue fighting and that they would be protected,” said Verdier.

Liberia’s Maryland County has traditionally been the hub for the country’s ritual murders. The killings have haunted the southeastern county for decades. In recent years, however, ritual killing cases have cropped up across the country.

Verdier said some of those who confessed at the TRC hearing gave graphic accounts of ritual killings they carried out.

“People went as far as eating their opponent’s body — when such person is killed in battle they cook their body to eat, believing that the spirit, the powerful spirit of that person, will come to them and by eating them, the person’s power is completely destroyed, so there can be no reemergence in that person’s family line or their ethnic line.”

‘General Butt Naked’, a notorious warlord in Liberia’s First Civil war (1989 – 1997) testified and confessed before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that he committed numerous ritualistic murders and ate body parts of his victims.

A former warlord who calls himself General Butt Naked and who fought against former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, confessed in 2008 to taking part in human sacrifices that included the killing of a child and “plucking out the heart, which was divided into pieces for us to eat.”

In 2005, the leader of Liberia’s transitional government, Gyude Bryant, pledged to hang anyone found guilt of ritual killing.

Dispatched to Maryland County by President Johnson Sirleaf to calm residents’ fears earlier this year, Justice Minister Christiana Tah acknowledged that “there are still lots of unresolved cases of this nature,” according to a report in the daily New Democrat.

In a case from the 1970s known as the Maryland Murders, seven people, including Fulton Yancy’s older brother Allen Yancy, a member of the House of Representatives, were hanged for killing a fisherman (see picture above). The following year Defense Minister Gray D. Allison was convicted of killing a police officer whose body was discovered on the Bong Mines railroad, apparently used in a ritual sacrifice. The government at the time displayed blood drained in gallons believed to be that of the dead man.

Dan Morias, one of those accused of the 2009 killing of a pregnant woman, is planning to run for senator in the upcoming legislative elections in October. He has maintained that the charges against him are politically motivated. He must be cleared of the charges to be eligible to run for office.

Morias is listed in the TRC report for alleged abuses committed while he served as Minister of Internal Affairs for the Charles Taylor regime. When reached by GlobalPost, Morias said he could not comment on the case as it would be “prejudicial,” but insisted that the evidence against him — namely the testimony of a witch doctor — was “weak.”

Earlier this year, President Johnson Sirleaf warned Maryland County citizens against seeking retribution for the killings with a traditional practice called “sassywood” or “trial by ordeal.”

The government insists that trial by ordeal is illegal and Johnson Sirleaf banned the practice in April 2007. Since then traditional leaders have been pleading with the government to allow them to practice the act which they believe is the only way justice can be served in cases like these.

“Sassywood” is the insertion of an accused person’s extremity into hot oil or the placing of a heated metal on a suspect’s body. If the suspect is burned then it is concluded that he or she is guilty but if there is no burn then the suspect is deemed innocent and set free. Those found guilty are killed.

The police are working to stamp out both the ritual killings and the “sassywood” practices, said George Bardue, spokesman for the Liberia National Police: “The police are doing everything possible to make sure that these things do not happen.”

Emily Schmall is a multimedia journalist now based in Monrovia, Liberia, where she serves as country director for New Narratives, a journalism mentorship project for women. Wade Williams is a New Narratives fellow and an editor at FrontPage Africa, Liberia’s most widely circulated newspaper.

Source: Liberia’s elections, ritual killings and cannibalism
GlobalPost