Liberia: Picnicess citizens say herbalist Tamba Bundo is doing well by exposing wizards, witches and ritualistic killers

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).

Herbalist Tamba Bundo

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.

Dr. Peter Coleman, Senator for Grand Kru County

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.

Source: LIBERIA: Senator Coleman Breaks Silence Over Witchcraft Activities In Picnicess, Calls On Tamba Bundo To Continue His Work

Related article:

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.

Credit: Grand Kru TV Online

Source: Picnicess Citizens Say Herbalist Tamba Bundo Is Doing Well By Exposing   Wizards And Witches

Related article:

Witch Doctor Arrives in Grand Kru to Settle Issue of Mysterious Deaths

Herbalist Tamba Bundoo and his materials

Published: August 19, 2020
By: The Daily Observer – Leroy M. Sonpon

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.

Source: Witch Doctor Arrives in Grand Kru to Settle Issue of Mysterious Deaths

Liberia: woman dies after reportedly taking ‘sassywood’ to clear her innocence from witchcraft allegations

In Liberia, superstition is widespread. On more than one occasion I have written about this phenomenon in the West African country, Africa’s oldest republic, founded in 1847. The most recent occasion was on July 5, 2020 after a girl had been terribly tortured by her siblings who accused her of witchcraft. At the end of July another case which had actually happened in the preceding month was reported.

This time it was linked to an old ritual, trial by ordeal or ‘sassywood ordeal’ as it is called in Liberia. The Liberian government has outlawed the ‘sassywood or sasswood ordeal‘ many, many years ago, but It enacted a law that was never enforced – for various reasons. In 2009 seven people, accused of witchcraft in River Gee County, in the south of the country, died of whom two died from drinking the poison.

On Monday June 27, Sarah Togba, a woman in Gaye Town, in Grand Gedeh County, died after she ‘voluntarily’ took a ‘sassywood’ to prove her innocence after she had been accused of witchcraft causing the death of several persons. I fear that she will not be the last victim of this age-old practice of trial by ordeal, in fact a kind of mob justice. Still in the 21st century the rule of law is not applied in Liberia (webmaster FVDK).   

Liberia: Woman Dies after Reportedly Taking ‘Sassywood’ to Clear her Innocence from Witchcraft Allegations

Published: July 27, 2020
By: Front Page Africa – Lennart Dodoo 

GRAND GEDEH – A woman in Gaye town, Gbarzon District 3 in Grand Gedeh County met her untimely death on Monday, June 27 after she voluntarily took a ‘sassywood’ (trial by ordeal) to prove her innocence of allegations that she has been involved with witchcraft activities and had orchestrated the death of several persons.

Sarah Togba, according to reports gathered by FrontPageAfrica, was accused along with 13 others of being responsible for the death of one Zean Lolee Sayee who died recently in the country. He was 58 years old.

An eyewitness, Albert Thoudou, told FrontPageAfrica that Sayee’s children, during the funeral rites, confessed to being witches and claimed they knew who caused the death of their father. Sarah and 13 others were mentioned, according to the eyewitness.

He explained to FrontPageAfrica that some of those accused verbally denied the allegation, but Sarah who has on many occasions been accused of being a witch, opted to clear her name by voluntarily taking the “sasssywood”.

“By our tradition here, we have a tree in the bush we call the sassywood tree, if you shew the bark of that tree and you’re innocent, nothing will happen to you and if you’re guilty you’ll die. Sarah went into the bush and people saw her coming back with the sassywwod tree in her mouth. But she suddenly fell and died on the spot,” Thoudou explained.

He added, “I witnessed the incident, she was not forced by the elders. She decided to do it herself. She has always been accused of being a witch, so, maybe, she wanted to clear her name once and for all.”

According to him, four of the accused admitted to the allegation prior to Sarah opting for trial by ordeal. The eyewitness further disclosed that six others are on the standby to prove their innocence.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that the children of the deceased who leveled the witchcraft allegation and also claimed to be witches and wizards have cautioned that unless some traditional rites are performed in the town, six other persons would die in similar fashion their father died.

Source: Liberia: Woman Dies after Reportedly Taking ‘Sassywood’ to Clear her Innocence from Witchcraft Allegations

Liberia: adolescent girl tortured, accused of witchcraft

I’ve hesitated to include the article below on this blog – partly because of the gruesome nature of the described act, partly because of the graphic description of the treatment, obviously a form of torture, which family members inflicted upon a girl they accused of witchcraft and being responsible for the death of an uncle.

Eventually I decided to reproduce the article here and to share it with a larger audience. The reason why I choose to do so is because witchcraft lies at the bottom of their repulsive behavior. This site is focusing on superstition and everything which relates to it in a criminal way: ritualistic acts, ritual murders, ‘money rituals’ (Nigeria), muti murders (in Southern Africa), and – indeed – witchcraft. The fact that the ultimate victim, a young and innocent girl, was maltreated and tortured was another reason for drawing attention to this incident. Unfortunately, rape is a daily crime in Liberia and most perpetrators get away with their crimes. In Liberia, impunity seems to be the rule, and not the rule of law.

Therefore, again a warning: the following article contains graphic details of a form of torture (webmaster FVDK).

Liberia: Adolescent Girl Sodomized After Being Thrown Out for Witchcraft

Published: July 3, 2020
By: FrontPage Africa 

MONROVIA – A girl believed in her late teens has been sexually assaulted in her anus after she was thrown out of her family in Omega Tower Community on accusation on her being witchcraft.

According to a source close to the family, the incident occurred on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 night when she was asleep.

The girl (name withheld) was discovered early Wednesday morning lying helpless on the main road that links Montserrado to Margibi, crying for rescue.

Some community members felt pity for her, took her from the street, gave her food and water. They at the same time called the Women and Children Division of the Liberia National Police to take the survivor to hospital for treatment.

Her current condition has left community members blaming her family for neglecting her and throwing her out of the house after alleging that she confessed killing her 25 years old uncle (name withheld) in May of this year after a brief period of illness.           

A family source interviewed by this paper narrated that after the death of the uncle, the survivor and her partners were tortured and beaten badly on grounds that they are responsible for his death. This, according to the source, caused her mother and father to escape with her other siblings leaving her at the mercy of the family.

“During the night when her uncle died,” the eyewitness said, “that child was beaten by his family and a man who claimed to be a big man in the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) at which time they broke one of her legs.”

“After all the torture, they still threw her out of the house, they forgot to even take into consideration the danger it poses to her health, not only the aspect of rape.”  

“I do not know why people find pleasure in accusing innocent children of the act of witchcraft when, in fact, there is no way they can prove their accusations,” the eyewitness said in pity.

The eyewitness said after the death of the survivor’s uncle the family members brought a native doctor who said that girl and her partners were responsible for his death.

“After the native doctor was brought here, the family said that the girl confessed that she and her partners killed her uncle because he means them with food,” the eyewitness said.

The eyewitness expressed deep frustration in said aptitude adding that “I do not know who the man that did such a wicked act to a child in such condition.”

According to the eyewitness, the LNP Children Division was able to take the child to the hospital.

“What we are praying for now is not just the treatment of the child but an investigation being done to bring the perpetrator to justice and even the family because they were the ones who exposed her to such danger.”            

In Liberia, rape has become the order of the day with few out of many girls who have suffered such horrible acts from their male counterparts are lucky to get the needed justice.

With many perpetrators understanding that the justice system is very weak, they go ahead to sexually abused girls and walk in the street with impunity.

Source: Liberia: Adolescent Girl Sodomized After Being Thrown Out for Witchcraft

General Quiwonkpa, revenge and juju in Liberia

Much has already been written (and said) about the late Thomas G. Quiwonkpa, one of the main perpetrators of the bloody 1980 coup in Liberia – if not the most important – who savagely toppled the regime of President William Tolbert. Thomas Quiwonkpa was a Gio from Nimba County and at the time of the coup a corporal in the Liberian Army. The reason why he did not emerge as the leader of the coup was that his comrade Samuel Kanyon Doe, a Krahn from Grand Gedeh County, was a master-sergeant in the same army, hence one military grade higher than Quiwonkpa. Doe thus became leader of the PRC, the People’s Redemption Council. Quiwonkpa was promoted General and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

However, the two comrades later fell out and – to shorten a long story – in 1983 Quiwonkpa fled to the United States to escape an inevitable death by Doe loyalists. After fraudulent elections in 1985, Quiwonkpa returned with a group of armed men to install the real winner but the attempted coup against Samuel Doe failed. Quiwonkpa was captured by Doe’s forces, killed and partly cannibalized, his mutilated body publicly exhibited.

Using parts of Quiwonkpa’s body for ritualistic purposes and exposing his mutilated body publicly was meant to create juju and to enhance his killers’ power and prestige. Notably Samuel Doe and his Krahn soldiers who had captured the late General were to benefit from the thus created juju. (Source: Fred van der Kraaij, ‘Liberia: From the Love of Liberty to Paradise Lost’. African Studies Centre Leiden, 2015, p.52-56).

Liberia’s history is full of irony. When in 1990 President Samuel Doe was tortured to death by rebel commander Prince Johnson and his group he suffered the same fate. Doe’s mutilated body was publicly exposed in Monrovia (Source: Idem, p. 63) Warning – readers are warned that the picture of the late President Doe (below) might be found disturbing.

Thomas Quiwonkpa (left) and Samuel Doe (right) after the coup, April 1980.
Liberian soldiers point their rifles at the mutilated body of the late President Samuel Doe, September 1990.
Image by © Patrick Robert/Sygma/Corbis

On March 10, 2020 an article appeared in the Daily Observer, one of Liberia’s leading newspapers, entitled ‘Memorial to Late Gen. Thomas G. Quiwonkpa Under Construction in Ganta, and for shortness sake it will be reproduced below.

Memorial to Late Gen. Thomas G. Quiwonkpa Under Construction in Ganta

Monument to Quiwonkpa: “Today, he is gone, but nothing is left of him as a memorial for someone to lay wreath or pay homage on Decoration Day or even the Armed Forces Day,” said Ebenezer Williams.

Published: March 10, 2020
By: The Daily Observer, Ishmael F. Menkor 

It appears to be one of the most unlikely places but, the Sanana Funeral Home in Ganta, along the road leading to Sanniquellie, Nimba County, has sealed on its wall the memorial of the late General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa. Quiwonkpa was killed in an aborted coup staged by him in 1985, and there is no trace of his grave as reports at the time noted that he was butchered with his heart extracted and testes placed in wine and drunk by his killers.

General Quiwonkpa, like some others including then Head-of-State Samuel Doe of the People’s Redemption Council (PRC), who seized power in 1980 following the assassination of President William R. Tolbert on April 12, do not have graves and therefore their surviving families and relatives are not able to memorialize them on Decoration Day on the second Wednesday in March of every year.

The proprietor of the Sanana funeral home, Ebenezer Williams, told the Daily Observer that the late Quiwonkpa was one of Liberia’s heroes, but nothing has been enshrined in any part of Liberia as a memorial. The memorial, still under construction, is expected to be covered in marble.

The late Gen. Thomas G. Quiwonkpa

“I saw him at the Du-Side Hospital when I was small at the time. He used to visit the hospital for an eye treatment, and was always sharing with us every time we visited him,” he said.

“Today, he is gone, but nothing is left of him as a memorial for someone to lay wreath or pay homage on Decoration Day or even the Armed Forces Day,” he said.

“This marble design in his honor will certainly make his memory not to be lost and will create an avenue for people for come to pay their respect,” he added.

The late General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa was born July 24, 1955 and was a member of the People’s Redemption Council, a governing military junta that overthrew President William Richard Tolbert on April 12, 1980, by assassination.

The late General Quiwonkpa defected from the PRC in 1983 after he was removed as Commanding General of the Armed Forces of Liberia and given the position of Secretary-General.

He later went into exile and returned in 1985 as head of a dissident group called the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, which staged an aborted coup and was killed.

Since the brutal death of the late Quewonkpa, there has been no memorialization of him, neither in his county nor the country.  Similar fate befell President Samuel Doe, who was also captured on September 9, 1990 and killed by the rebel group, Independent National Patriotic Front (INPFL) of Prince Johnson who is now a Senator of Nimba County. Sen. Johnson’s testimonies during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings indicated that Doe’s body was buried, then exhumed following request for an assessment. By tradition, since he could not be buried twice, the late President’s body was cremated and the ashes scattered in the river in Caldwell, where the INPFL had its base.

Williams, proprietor of the Sanana Funeral Home, is not a native of Nimba; however, he believes the slain General Quiwonkpa was a good and honest man in the Armed Forces of Liberia who needs to be remembered.

“We want people to constantly pay homage to this place and lay a wreath, either on his birthday, Decoration Day, or even the Armed Forces Day,” he concluded.

The people of Grand Gedeh County are also contemplating on erecting a monument in memory of slain President Samuel Doe to memorialize him.  Scores of PRC members including Vice Head-of-State Thomas Wey-sehn and Deputy Vice Head-of-State, J. Nicholas Podier, also seem to have no identifiable graves to decorate.

Source: Memorial to Late Gen. Thomas G. Quiwonkpa Under Construction in Ganta

Recommended additional reading for those interested in Liberia’s politics and history:

Quote: “Quiwonkpa was captured and on November 15 was killed and mutilated by Krahn soldiers loyal to Doe . His killers then dismembered his body and reportedly ate parts of it. His body was publicly exhibited on the grounds of the Executive Mansion in Monrovia soon after his death.” Unquote
Source: Thomas Quiwonkpa – click here

Warning: a shocking account with graphic contents (webmaster FVDK):
General Quiwonkpa and Marconi: a connection of deadly proportions – click here

Warning: the follows contains graphic details (webmaster FVDK):
The Rise And Fall Of Samuel Doe Of Liberia (graphic Pics & Video ) – click here

Liberia: No suspects arrested yet in case of 9-year-old victim of ritualistic murder

On February 1, I reported the discovery of the mutilated body of a 9-year old boy in Nimba County and the – usual – gossip and rumor that it was a case of ritualistic killing. Not a coincidence. Ritual murders continue to occur (more or less frequently, we don’t know) in Liberia, and since elections will be held, later this year (October), the assumption of a ritualistic killing when finding a mutilated body is never far away. Moreover, a Liberian senator, from Nimba County (!) recently warned against ritual killers.

Police have questioned several ‘persons of interest’ in connection with the dead 9-year old, named Lee Arthur, but have not arrested a suspect. This automatically leads to rumors of a cover-up in Liberia, where ordinary people are used to the impunity of ‘big shots’, as highly placed citizens are called, usually politicians or high ranking civil servants and law makers. 

There are multiple reasons to remain vigilant and follow this case closely. The link between elections and ritual killings needs to be broken. In fact, the phenomenon of ritualistic murders should be banished from Liberia and become part of its history. After all, its 2020! (webmaster FVDK).

Published: February 6, 2020
By: The Bush Chicken – Jerry Myers

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – Despite efforts being exerted by police in Nimba to identify the murderer of Lee Arthur, a nine-year-old boy who was likely a victim of a ritualistic killing in late January this year, no suspect has yet been arrested.

A police source, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said those who were invited by the police in Bahn as persons of interest in the murder case have all been signed for by stakeholders in Lorplay and released to the community because of the lack of evidence linking them to the murder.

On Jan. 23, the boy was found dead in a hideout in Sahn Village in Nimba’s sixth district with his body partially dismembered and missing key body parts, including his vocal cord. His arms were also skinned. The cause of death remains unknown. However, residents of the village suspect that his missing body parts are an indication that he may be a victim of a ritualistic murder.

Following police arrival on the crime scene, several persons were invited for questioning to determine whether they were linked to the murder. However, the police source has told The Bush Chicken that, after a thorough investigation of those individuals, they were released.

“They could still be invited at a later time, should the police find sufficient evidence enough to link any one of them,” the source said. “So they are going about their normal activities back home as the police try to find the perpetrators of such an ugly act.”

The source further noted that the community has been cooperative with the police during the investigation.

Meanwhile, following examination of the child’s body by police, medical personnel, and the coroners, he has been buried.

The source noted that because police in the area lacked the capacity to preserve the body as the investigation continues, they turned the corpse over to family members for burial.

Meanwhile, police in Nimba have not yet made any official statement about the case, as the investigation continues.

Source: No Suspects Arrested Yet in Case of 9-Year-Old Victim of Ritualistic Murder

Liberia: Boy discovered dead in Nimba County; cause of death linked to ritualistic rites

Yesterday morning I posed a question – in fact, I made a statement expressing my opinion – but could not imagine that a sad event would soon confirm my view.

I stated: “Ritual murders still occur in Liberia, notably during election campaigns, and the fear of ritualistic killings is a daily preoccupation of many Liberians.”  See yesterday’s  post Ritual murders and elections in Liberia

Then I read the news, later, yesterday evening. “Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites”.

Sad news. I prefer to have been wrong. When will it end in Liberia? When will it stop, ritualistic murders? How come that it does not stop in Liberia (and elsewhere)?

Many questions. Now first the facts.
(webmaster FVDK).

Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites

Published: January 31, 2020
By: The Bush Chicken – Jerry Myers

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – A 9-year-old boy has been found dead in a hideout in Nimba’s sixth district, with his body partially dismembered and missing key body parts. The body of Lee Arthur was found on Thursday, Jan. 23 in Sahn Village.

The cause of death remains unknown. However, residents of the village suspect that his missing body parts is an indication that he may be a victim of a ritualistic murder.

Coroners from Boe and Quella administrative districts, as well as Liberia National Police officers in Bahn, Nimba’s seventh district, who visited the scene crime, have all ruled out death from natural causes, suggesting that the child was murdered.

The head of Boe and Quella Administrative District’s Coroner Office, Moses Kargou, described the incident as “too scaring” and the first of its kind in the district since he took up his position in 2005.

“Since my father who was the district coroner died in 2005, and the district people chose me to serve [in] the position, this is my first time to see such ugly act,” Kargou said. “People can get drowned in water, and several other deaths have been happening here. But today, to see someone butchered like [an] animal, it is bad.”

Kargou expressed doubts that the crime was committed by a stranger to the village, suggesting that the perpetrator must be a member of the community. His passionate plea, therefore, was for the police to bring the killers to justice. Kargou then pledged the village’s fullest cooperation in the investigation.

“We can only hear about these kinds of acts on the main road, but for someone to travel this far to commit such an act is really serious,” he noted.

Four persons are already suspected in the alleged murder and are currently in police custody in Bahn.

Following the coroners’ examination and police forensic investigation, the victim’s remains were turned over to his family who, without money to preserve it at a mortuary, has gone forward with burial.

There has been no formal indictment of any suspect as the police investigation continues.

Source: Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites

Nimba County, Liberia

Ritual murders and elections in Liberia

Sometimes you have to read between the lines. Sometimes half a word is enough to understand what is meant. Sometimes a casual remark hides a world which makes you shiver. Senator Thomas S. Grupee of Nimba County, Liberia, who recently spoke at the induction ceremony of local youth leaders in Gbar Chiefdom, Nimba County just did it.

I want to share his remarks with you. Then judge for yourselves whether ritualistic killings have been eradicated from Liberian society. I will tell you my view in advance: Ritual murders still occur in Liberia, notably during election campaigns, and the fear of ritualistic killings is a daily preoccupation of many Liberians.

I invite readers to react to my – maybe – provocative opinion. Am I right or wrong?
(webmaster FVDK).

”We Should Not Be Belly Driven Voters” – Senator Thomas Grupee

Senator Thomas Grupee of Nimba County, Liberia

Published: January 30, 2020
By: The Daily Observer – Ishmael F. Mentor   

Senator Thomas S. Grupee of Nimba County says citizens not to be a “belly driven” voters come October 2020 Special Senatorial Election.

Speaking at the induction ceremony of local youth leaders in Gbar Chiefdom, Nimba County recently, he warned them to be very careful of politicians who come, showing their “white teeth and black hearts”; and these politicians mostly come with huge money to dash it on the citizens/voters.

“We have so many white teeth, black heart, deceitful politicians, who will be coming to you with bags of rice; in fact with stolen money — money of your own,” he said in a loud voice, followed by an applause from the crowd.

He told them to be very careful, because these deceitful politicians will come at the eleventh hour of the campaign and dump money on the voters in order to win.

“Even though we lived in poverty, but we are not stupid and not destitute,” he added.

Although, Senator Grupee did not name such unscrupulous politicians in his remarks, he reiterated his warning by saying: “Even though you did not go to school to be educated, you have education on your own, like the late Chief Tuazama, the late chief Gblorzou Toweh and many former chiefs in Nimba’s history.”

Senator Grupee, who just returned home from the USA, where he underwent a month-long medical treatment praised Nimba as one of the best and prosperous counties in Liberia that need good face to represent them in the Senate.

“Nimba needs a fighter that will fight for you and need a person with integrity and with good record that is not tainted in any way,” he said.

He explained that it was through God’s grace that we survived the war and Nimba can also survive any situation through the same Almighty God, who helped the county and the country during the civil war.

He advised the citizens not to sell themselves to any politician come October 2020 election, as they will be coming to seek for their votes. Earlier, he on warned the citizens to desist from any unscrupulous behaviors, like ritualistic killing and respect the rights of everybody, regardless of whether that person is a child, poor or rich.

He noted that God made everybody equal and, under the law, everybody is also equal. Therefore, he added, “taking the life of other for ritual purpose in order to get rich or get highest position was wrong,” he said.

He observed that the level of deceit in Nimba is too much; something he said the county will be develops when deceit and hatred are the key backbone.

“If am a good leader, I should not lead you in harmful way or mislead you in any way. If I go wrong, I should be able to apologize for wrongdoing,” he said.

Senator Grupee still remains one of the formidable candidates in the coming senatorial election slated for October this year. During his tenure, he visited nearly every part of Nimba, undertaking and contributing to development initiatives.

Among the key the development initiatives, he built a modern school building in Glann Town in Gbi and Doru, making it the first modern school building in the district.

Source: ”We Should Not Be Belly Driven Voters”

Nimba County, Liberia

Liberia: Police and Gender Ministry rescue 29 children accused of witchcraft in Nimba County

Lack of education and superstition go hand in hand. Compliments for the LNP and the Gender Ministry for this timely action! In 2007 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made primary school education compulsory and free (by the way, not for the first time in Liberia’s history…), what happened to the law? (webmaster FVDK)

Rescued children

Published: January 17, 2020
By: The Bush Chicken, Sualeh Ziamo   

GANTA, Nimba – The Liberia National Police and authorities of the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection have rescued 29 children who were taken to a church for deliverance after being accused of practicing witchcraft.

The Gender Ministry’s supervisor assigned in Nimba, Victor Zeegban, told The Bush Chicken that the children were taken to the Fire for Fire Deliverance Church in Ganta for spiritual cleansing, on suspicion that they were involved in witchcraft activities.

Zeegban said his office had received a tip from community dwellers about the kids being mistreated at the center and abandoned by relatives who took them there.

“After receiving the tipoff, we dispatched our social workers to the church to see for themselves and they came back and reported to us that the kids were actually abandoned by their parents and guardians,” he said.

“Through our fact-finding visits, we even got to know that some of the kids were taken there at the age of one and have spent over three years in the church’s yard.”

He also confirmed that the children were being mistreated and found in appalling conditions, with no access to medication when they fell sick. According to him, one of the children died in May last year.

“I saw with my own eyes one of the children’s hands [being] tied with [a] rope on grounds that he was possessed [by] a strong spirit from the dark world,” Zeegban explained.

He also disclosed that the Gender Ministry was relocating the children to a safe home in Sanniquellie, where they will remain until they are possibly reunited with their families. Zeegban assured that the children would be supported by partners of the ministry.

Meanwhile, the commander of the police’s Women and Children Protection Section in Ganta, Jenkins Mangou, has praised members of the community for the important role they played in the children’s rescue.

Source: Police and Gender Ministry Rescue 29 Children Accused of Witchcraft in Nimba

Africa’s shameful acts of racism: the plight of persons with albinism (PLWA) in Africa

Under construction – comments (webmaster FVDK)

Some of the protestors with various placards that called on the Liberian Government among other things, increase their budgetary support (Courtesy of Daily Observer, Liberia).

Africa’s Shameful Acts of Racism: The Plight of Persons with Albinism (PLWA) in Africa

Published: December 2, 2019
By: Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor, The Daily Observer (Liberia),  Webmaster Admin 

Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior to another, and that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics.   On the African Continent, we have seen the impact of colonialism and its attributes of racism and discrimination.

The former Apartheid system in South Africa and its institutionalized racial segregation was an extreme expression of European treatments of Africans. The miserable treatment of people living with Albinism by fellow Africans is not only unfortunate, it is shameful.

The condition known as ‘Oculocutaneous albinism’ (OCA) is a genetically inherited autosomal recessive condition and OCA2, tyrosine-positive albinism, is the most prevalent type found throughout Africa. Due to the lack of melanin, people with albinism are more susceptible to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure.

The National Institutes of Health reported that about 200,000 Americans are affected; and around the world, it is between one in 17,000 and one in 20,000 people are people living with albinism. However, it is prevalence in parts of Africa, but it is far higher than the global average. People living with Albinism makeup about one in 4,000 people in South Africa and perhaps one in 5,000 in Nigeria. According to a 2006 review published in the journal BMC Public Health, the prevalence in Tanzania is one in 1,400, but this estimate is based on incomplete data. Since Tanzania’s total population is more than 40 million that would suggest an albinism community of about 30,000. A census is underway, however, and the Albinism Association of Tanzania believes the total figure could be more than 150,000.

People living with Albinism suffered in the hands of fellow Africans

The human rights organization Amnesty International quoted the Malawian police’s description of the gruesome murder of Mr. Machinjiri: “About four men trafficked him to Mozambique and killed him. The men chopped off both his arms and legs and removed his bones. Then they buried the rest of his body in a shallow grave.”

There are superstitions in some parts of Africa that albino body parts bring wealth, power or sexual conquest, and that having sex with a person living with the condition of albinism cures HIV and AIDS. Attackers sell albino body parts to witch doctors for thousands of dollars, according to Amnesty International. In Tanzania, some 75 people living with albinism were reported killed between 2000 and 2016.

Also, there have been reports of people living with albinism killings in South Africa; although such crimes are less common there than in Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi. Last February, a South African court sentenced a traditional healer to life in prison for murdering a 20-year-old woman living with albinism.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN agency that deals with human rights issues reported in 2016 that hunters of people living with albinism sell an entire human corpse for up to $75,000, while an arm or a leg could fetch about $2,000”.

In many African countries, it is sad and shameful the atrocious manner in which people living with albinism are treated; their lives are compounded by “exclusion, stigmatization, and denial of basic rights such as the right to education and health,” according to Amnesty International.  People living with Albinism continue to experience social isolation and stigma which includes name-calling, mockery, and exclusion from certain community activities.

It is reported in Zambia that at least ten people living with albinism are murdered in ritual killings every year.  Some believe their body parts bring wealth or luck. Those born with the genetic condition are calling for an end to this madness. There are more than 25,000 people living with the condition in Zambia.

Madame Janet Kakusa Wonani of Zambia, Founder/President of Light of The World Foundation. She works closely with children with Albinism in Zambia, irrespective of limited financial support.

According to the Albinism Foundation of Zambia (AFZ), Executive Director John Chiti, more than 25,000 persons with albinism in Zambia are currently in need of sunscreen lotion.

In an interview with Africa Renewal, Ms. Ero, said that the albinism situation in Africa, “is a tragedy.” She referred to the 7,000 to 10,000 people living with albinism in Malawi and thousands of others in Tanzania, Mozambique and other countries as “an endangered people”, facing a “risk of extinction if nothing is done.” Tanzanians call people living with albinism zeru, zeru, meaning “ghosts.”

Prevailing Superstitious Mindsets

Superstitious mindsets in some African countries continue to seek murdered for body parts, including infants and babies. Most of the attacks have taken place in Tanzania. Murders and attempted attacks, though in smaller numbers, have also been documented in Burundi, Kenya, Swaziland, Guinea, Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, Zambia, Namibia, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso.

The Converson.com conducted research and looked at media reports published between 2008 and 2011 on albinism and murders in Tanzania. It published a data set of 563 media reports in both English and Swahili from Tanzanian national newspapers.

The data showed that the Tanzanian press portrayed and explained violent attacks against persons with albinism in four ways. They were:

  • criminal activity,
  • cultural practices,
  • a socio-economic phenomenon,
  • a human rights issue.

Ms. Kway-Geer, the first Member of Parliament in Tanzania with albinism described her individual testimonials, first-hand accounts of difficulties as:

“When I was at primary school, people used to laugh at me, tease me – some didn’t even like to touch me, saying that if they touched me they would get this color. People used to abuse me on the road when I took the buses to school. They would run after me – crowds of kids following me – shouting ‘zeru, zeru’. (zeru, zeru, is a derogatory term).

Recommendations

The Conversation.com has identified the following recommendations.

  1. There is an urgent need to address the violence faced by this vulnerable group. Public health awareness is an important first step.
  2. Adequate health services for skin and vision disabilities should be prioritized.
  3. Putting out messages that counter the stigma against people living with Albinism is also important, as is access to education.
  4. Interventions must consider Albinism’ human rights. For example, putting children with albinism in camps may protect their right to life and security,but it restricts their rights to freedom of movement, and family life.

In addition, African Governments should seriously advocate against harmful practices against people living with albinism.  State parties should take all appropriate measures and offer support and assistance to victims of harmful practices, including legal sanctions, education, and advocacy campaign to eliminate harmful practices perpetrated on persons with albinism, such as witchcrafts, abandonment concealment, ritual killings, etc.

Conclusion

One thing for sure, the people living with Albinism did not create themselves; they were created in the same way you and I were created by the God who doesn’t make a MISTAKE. Their birth process is the same as you and me! Their mothers’ carried them for nine (9) months in their wombs before giving birth to them.

Who are we – be it an individual or government to decide that they should not live because they are different? Did God ask he needs our HELP to make His decision? The Almighty God does not need the assistance of mortal humans to run his affairs. The actions of those individuals perpetuating violence against persons suffering from albinism are no different than King Leopold II of Belgium, Adolph Hitler of Germany, Napoleon Bonaparte of France, and White racists today.

In Genesis 1:31(NIV): “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…” God himself said it was Good, NOT bad. God doesn’t create anything UGLY! So, why individuals, including governments, are killing these innocent people? In addition, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 instructs us to “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Accordingly, the GENOCIDE against these poor innocent people must be STOPPED!

Now, take a closer look at the beautiful tapestry of the people living with Albinism provided here. The question that readily comes to mind is any of you better looking than the people living with Albinism provided in these photos? I DOUBT IT! Therefore, let the persecution and killing of people living with Albinism STOP before the wrath of God descends upon us.

As Africans, it is embarrassing to read or hear that other Africans are discriminated against due to their race. Racism is contrary to God’s plan for humanity. The divisions we face today in contemporary Western nations are due to Race, the color of one’s skin or ethnic background.  And obviously, this perception is not part of God’s plan.

The Albinism Society of Kenya held a Mr. and Miss Albinism beauty pageant in Nairobi to support those with the hereditary condition. (https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-46439699).

In the words of Maya Angelou: “We, the black people, the most displaced, the poorest, the most maligned and scourged, we had the glorious task of reclaiming the soul and saving the honor of the country. We, the most hated, must take hate into our hands and by the miracle of love, turn loathing into love. We, the most feared and apprehensive must take the fear and by love, change it into hope. We, who die daily in large and small ways, must take the demon death and turn it into life.”

Indeed, Children living with albinism in Africa are our brothers, sisters, daughters, and sons, let us protect them always, they are all God’s children as well.

Source: Africa’s Shameful Acts of Racism: The Plight of Persons with Albinism (PLWA) in Africa

Africa Map

Liberia: Anti-ritual killing Taskforce gets 2 motorbikes

Liberia is not known to actively fight ritualistic murders or to prosecute and condemn perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Yet, according to a recent newspaper article (reproduced below) it has a anti-ritual killing taskforce – which is quite revealing. Is the Taskforce just window-dressing or is it a sincere attempt to fight these criminal, traditional practices which are so hard to wipe out?  I do not know the taskforce’s mandate, year of creation or its yearly budget, but will try to do some research and will let you know my findings asap.

Recently, Montserrado County District #1 Representative Lawrence Morris donated two brand new motorbikes to the anti-ritual killing Taskforce. At the occasion, he again expressed his condolences to the families of Elijah Porluma, 9 and Thomas Kollie, 10, who were reportedly abducted and killed allegedly for ritual purposes in early June 2019 (see my August 4, 2019 posting with the article entitled ‘Ritual Killings’ Spark Riot in Kingsville, dated June 25, 2019). 

Representative Morris made a generous gesture by donating two motorbikes to the anti-ritual killing taskforce, but will his donation solve the endemic problem of ritualistic killings in the country, or make a significant contribution to fighting these crimes?

I have my doubts. In my view, more needs to be done to effectively end ritual killings in a country where superstition, ignorance, poverty, greed, lack of rule of law and impunity are responsible for the continuation of these criminal practices (webmaster FVDK).

Anti-Ritual Killing Taskforce Gets 2 Motorbikes

Published: October 25, 2019
By: Daily Observer –  Leroy M. Sonpon, III 

Montserrado County District #1 Representative Lawrence Morris donates two brand new motorbike for Anti-Ritual Killings

Two brand new motorbikes, in the tune of L$490,000, have been donated to the Anti-Ritual Killing Community Watch-Team in Number 7 Community, Kingsville Township, Montserrado County District #1 on Thursday, October 24, 2019 to assist the Liberia National Police (LNP) to protect lives and properties.

Montserrado County District #1 Representative Rep. Lawrence Morris called on the District to choose peace over violence and end violence and ritualistic killings that would have the propensity to cause civil war or divide the district and, at large, the nation.

Montserrado County District #1 Representative Lawrence Morris

He again expressed his condolences to the bereaved families of the two children, Elijah Porluma, 9 and Thomas Kollie, 10, who were reportedly abducted and killed allegedly for ritual purposes in early June 2019 (italics added by the webmaster FVDK).

The House’s chairman on Refugees Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration urged his constituencies to join him not to applaud the ritualistic killings, and must never choose violence instead of peace; lies instead of truth and laugh at obscenities instead of correcting them.

He pointed out the new bikes are in fulfillment of his promise to support the Community Watch-Team to save lives and protect properties.

The Montserrado County lawmaker said: “You shall not murder or You shall not kill, is a moral imperative included as one of the Ten Commandments in the Holy Bible and it’s a sin against God.”

It may be recalled that, on Monday, June 24, 2019, aggrieved citizens of the Kingsville town blocked the main road from Red-Light to Kakata in demand for justice for two boys, Elijah Porluma, 9 and Thomas Kollie, 10, who were reportedly abducted and later killed allegedly for ritual purposes (italics added by the webmaster FVDK).

The demonstrators were holding aloft placards bearing inscriptions that read, “We want justice,” as they occupied the middle of the road with themselves and abandoned pieces of timber and metallic objects used to set up the roadblock.

Source: Anti-Ritual Killing Taskforce Gets 2 Motorbikes for Utility