Liberia has been in the grip of a series of mysterious deaths, unexplained disappearances and confirmed cases of ritual murders since at least early 2021 but in fact much earlier. It started with the unexplained death of a number of tax officials, three senior employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the Director General of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), who were found dead within one month, in 2020.
The recorded cases of unexplained deaths and proven ritualistic murders stand at 10, for the year 2021 alone. I have extensively paid attention to these cases and the resulting social and political unrest in Liberia in more than 10 recent posts. See my posts dated September 30, October 1, October 4, October 5, October 7, October 9, October 22, October 23, November 9, November 10 and November 11.
Still, despite repeated appeals from prominent civil society and church leaders, politicians and journalists in Liberia, the reaction of the Liberian Government is one of silence and disappointing. This leads unnecessarily to fresh rumors of involvement of high ranking government officials, unfortunately not uncommon in Liberia.
Recently a UN human rights expert urged the Liberian Government to act and investigate the mysterious deaths and disappearances and arrest the culprits of the heinous crimes which are ritualistic murders for occult purposes (‘juju’).
The ball is now in President Weah’s court. In 2017, the former soccer champion-turned-politician was elected by a majority of the unprivileged youth of Liberia after an election campaign promising them ‘change’. Liberia faces new presidential elections in 2023 and with mounting criticism and an opposition determined to unseat him, Weah is uncertain to gain a second mandate (webmaster FVDK).
UN human rights expert urges Liberia to probe suspected ritual killings
Published: December 10, 2021
By: Punch, Nigeria
A UN human rights expert on Friday urged Liberia to investigate claims that a spate of murders this year had a ritual motive, despite authorities having already denied those claims.
Rumours of ritual murders spread on social media in the West African nation this year, with reports of corpses found with body parts removed — possibly for occult purposes.
Liberian police have denied the bulk of the reports, however, and arrested a member of the political opposition accused of fanning the rumours.
On Friday, Morris Tidball-Binz, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, nonetheless urged Liberia’s government to investigate the killings.
The independent expert said in a statement that at least 10 people in Liberia had been murdered in unclear circumstances in 2021 year, “some of which have reportedly been linked to ritualistic practices”.
“Investigations should fully explore all possible motivations for these killings,” he was quoted as saying.
Ritual murders are not unheard of in Liberia, and were common during the country’s back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003.
Body parts severed from the victim’s corpse are thought to be used in rituals designed to benefit the murderer.
However in September, Liberian Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue announced that most of the recent alleged incidents are baseless.
The same month, police arrested a member of the opposition party Alternative National Congress for posting misinformation about ritual slayings online.