Liberia: ‘Ritual killings’ spark riot in Kingsville, Montserrado County

Is it a coincidence? In June 2019 two boys disappeared in Kingsville, Montserrado County, and were found back ‘with several parts missing’ – a common formulation used when a ritualistic murder is suspected. Montserrado County was preparing for elections to be held the following month, on July 29. By-elections were slated to fill the vacancies created by the deaths of senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff, and District #15 representative Adolph Akwe Lawrence.

Is there any relation between the by-elections and the ritualistic death of the two boys, Elijah Porluma, 9 and Thomas Kollie, 10? 

It is too gruesome to think that the by-elections have anything to do with the suspected ritual murder of the two boys. Moreover, according to one of the residents, Fayiah Dumbo, ritual killing is rampant in their town and – when it happens – the police usually claims the lack of sufficient evidence as a basis to drop charges against suspects involved in ritual killing.

The history of ritualistic murders in Liberia goes back a very long time but we are now living in the 3rd millennium. When will the Liberian Government take adequate measures to arrest the culprits of these heinous crimes and stop the killing of innocent people? Or are indeed ‘big shots’ involved who manage to escape from justice? 

When will it end?  (Website editor FVDK)

rmed police on the scene in Kingsville Number 7 Community and fired several rounds of ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, who retaliated by throwing stones at the police.

Published: Jun 25, 2019
By: Joaquin M. Sendolo – The Daily Observer

Angry residents block Kakata-Monrovia highway, as Police fire live rounds to disperse crowd

Number 7 Kingsville, Montserrado County, was a scene of rioting on Monday, June 24, 2019 when aggrieved citizens of the town gathered and 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 early this month.

It began without violence during the morning hours when local residents blocked the traffic in what they said was an attempt to draw the government’s attention to perceived injustice given what they see as the lack of appropriate Police response to the killing of the two boys; later, it turned violent when a few officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) sent to contain the situation began using force to disperse the demonstrators to restore the free flow of traffic.

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.

According to eyewitness accounts, the police at first spoke to the aggrieved residents to allow the free movement of vehicular traffic, but they refused.

“If we will die like the children who were killed, we will die; but we cannot leave this place until justice is done,” they declared.

Following the failure of the Police to convince the protesters to disperse, they regrouped and advanced towards the protesters in a tactical move, which succeeded in dispersing them. As the LNP officers attempted to remove the roadblocks, they were greeted by a hail of stones and other flying objects, which provoked the discharge of firearms (AK-47s) using live ammunition.

“While responding officers of the LNP were trying to remove the road blocks and illegal checkpoints from the Kakata Highway,” said a statement signed by LNP director of public affiars, H. Moses Carter, “they were stiffly resisted with stone throwing protestors and the use of other dangerous weapons including steel rods and petrol bombs which resulted in the injuries of three residents of Kingsville including: Saah Saah, 18, Dave Mombo, 18, and Abraham Tumba, 17 years old, all of the same community. Also, two officers, namely: Insp. Morris Dahn, and Sgt. Gbornimah Barmabia sustained head and leg injuries. Those who sustained injuries are said to be responding to treatment at the Du-Side Hospital in Margibi County and the John F. Kennedy Medical hospital in Monrovia.”

An eyewitness report says one person identified as Abraham Smith was shot dead in the incident, while another suggests that he was instead shot and severely wounded in leg but was not killed. Both reports are yet to be independently confirmed. It was, however, confirmed that a stone hit one of the police officers and he was seriously injured in his face.

The LNP says it has “launched an immediate joint investigation comprising the Professional Standards Division (PSD) and the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to probe into reports of shooting. The public can be assured that any officer found culpable in the unconventional use of lethal weapon will be made to face the full weight of the law.”

After hours of rioting, the few police officers left the scene thus, leaving the aggrieved residents in total control of the road until some senior police officers accompanied by reinforcements from Monrovia arrived and contained the situation. This led to resumption of the flow of traffic at about 2:56 p.m.

Fayiah Dumbo, an elderly man living in Number 7, explained that early this month the two boys, whose brutal killing sparked the riot, were abducted and taken to the bush at the outskirts of the town and were killed on land belonging to another resident he did not name.

“They took the two boys, one 9 and the other 10, down the town in the bush and killed them. The doers skinned one of them and cut the private parts, and they took the nose, lip and one eye of the other boy along with his kidneys,” Fayiah said.

According to the LNP statement, the bodies of the two children were discovered on June 3, 2019 in the bushes of Kingsville, Montserrado County, after they were sent on Thursday, May 30 and Friday, May 31, 2019 by their parents to sell but did not return home and were declared missing.

When the corpses of the victims were discovered, Fayiah said forensic examinations were done and four persons were arrested that included three prime suspects and the owner of the land on which the bodies were discovered. He explained further that the three arrested suspects, all men, were released and residents expressed concern that their release was done by the police and not the court.

“The police people came and gave us a paper that the bodies should be buried and that was done, but the three people are freed without facing justice in the court except this old papay who is still in jail because it is behind his house the act was done. This is why we are here today because we want the three men rearrested to face justice in the court and not the police to decide,” Fayiah said.

Fayiah said they will only be content if the men go through court trial and exonerate themselves, but their release from detention without the court’s mandate constitutes injustice and they will not stop their protest action until they can get redress.

According to him, ritual killing (otherwise known as heart-man activity) is rampant in their town and, when it happens, the government (police) usually claims the lack of sufficient evidence as a basis to drop charges against suspects involved in ritual killing.

“I have spent 15 years here, and since I came there have been many heart-man cases that ended like this,” he said.

The riot in Number 7, Kingsville, is the second of such violent incidents recently on this trunk of paved motor road leading to the country’s interior. It can be recalled that on April 1, riot broke out between the police and aggrieved residents of Weala over ritual killing and the police depot was burned while the house of the accused was damaged in part.

Source: ‘Ritual Killings’ Spark Riot in Kingsville

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.

(………)

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Source: Liberia: Our people are frightened

Liberia is located on the west coast of Africa

Grisly ritual killing in Zimbabwe…. Body dumped on highway to disguise murder

When I read this newspaper report on a gruesome ritual killing case in Zimbabwe, I remembered what my Zimbabwean friend Muchaneta Nyambuya had told me in Monrovia in the late 1970s.
We were then both teaching at the University of Liberia and we were discussing the wave of ritual killings in the country. I asked him about these horrible practices. ‘Did they only happen in Liberia?’ ‘Did they also happen in other African countries?’ Mucha looked at me, paused, and when he spoke again he didn’t give me a straight answer, but instead returned my question: “Do you think it’s different in other countries?”
It was only much later that I became familiar with the phenomenon of ‘muti murders‘. ‘Muti‘ is the Zulu word for ‘medicine‘. ‘Muti murders’ are ritualistic murders and occur not only in the Republic of South Africa, but in other countries in Southern Africa as well. So, also in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia, as Mucha’s country was then still called. Forty years after Mucha and I spoke about these age-old practices, apparently, some people in Zimbabwe still believe in the power of ‘muti’. (webmaster FVDK)

By Lex Vambe
Published May 25, 2018

Homicide detectives in Mutare, Zimbabwe, are battling to put pieces together and solve how a man who was initially believed to have been killed in a hit-and-run accident ended up with some of his body parts missing. The mysterious incident which happened in Zimunya on Monday has left villagers with their mouths ajar with many now pointing to ritual murder.

In a bid to conceal the heinous crime, perpetrators of the ritual murder dumped the body of the deceased man in the middle of the road along the Mutare-Masvingo highway.

They wanted it to be overrun by vehicles, conceal evidence and subsequently put traffic cops on a wild goose chase. Indeed some vehicles ran over the body.

Naturally, traffic police officers attended the scene, believing it was a genuine matter that falls under their purview, but they soon raised their homicide counterparts upon realising that they have been sold a dummy.

The corpse had some body parts missing around the private parts area and finger nails.

When The Weekender attended the scene, traffic police officers had moved the body of a man, who is yet to be identified to the roadside where they conducted further examinations.

The cops, who refused to talk to the Press citing protocol, quickly contacted the homicide section and advised them that they suspected murder.

From the crime scene investigations, the road traffic incident was a decoy.

Villagers quickly gathered at the scene and they told horror cases of ritual murders that have ravaged their community in recent months.

Murder victim – Zimbabwe

They said they were now living in constant fear while some were now escorting their children to school. Walking at night in the area is now considered dangerous.

An elderly villager who only identified herself as Gogo MaSibanda said the area was now a hunting ground for criminals. She said most of the murders were being perpetrated in Chigodora and bodies were being dumped there to cloud police investigations.
“I suspect that this man was killed for ritual purposes. Whoever did it went on to dump him on the road so that the body would be run over and destroy evidence. The plan has evidently failed,” she said.

Manicapost

Source: PaZimbabwe, May 25 2018

Related article treating the same crime:
Ritual killing dumped on highway to disguise murder
By Staff reporter
Bulawayo 24 News
25 May 2018, 6:50 hrs