Liberia: Bong County protests election year ritual killings (2017 article)

A few days ago, on January 19, I published a post ‘Sketchy overview of the most famous ritual murder cases in Liberia since the 1960s‘ which included a link to a number of 2017 ritual murder cases. Since experience shows that after a certain lapse of time links to articles sometimes have disappeared or have become inaccessible I have decided to include this 2017 article in a separate post (hereunder).

As I have often emphasized here, the same experience of lost links  – gained after some 20 years dealing with this phenomenon – justifies (in my eyes) the choice I made of adopting the same approach with respect to (all) other articles containing information on ritual murders, witchcraft, superstition or related topics in SSA. 

I hope future researchers will be grateful for the choice I made! 
(FVDK)

Bong County protests election year ritual killings (2017 article)

Published: August 15, 2017
By: Rodney Sieh – Front Page Africa

Gbarnga, Bong County – An increasing number of mutilated bodies found this year in Bong County has sown fear among citizens of the county of resurgence in ritual killings.

“We have seen over five killings since the start of the year,” said Jacob Sameway, president of the Bong Christian Association (BOCA).

He said most of the victims were young girls whose lips, tongues, genitals and other organs had been removed.

The killings have stirred rising anger against the Government of Liberia and Police for doing too little to halt the murders.

“We want to shout out our disappointment and tell the authorities that this needs to stop,” said Olivia Weetol, president of the Bong County Women Organization.

Ansumana Jalloh, whose 12-year-old daughter was killed in Gbartala, Yellequelleh district in mid-December, told FrontPageAfrica he was losing hope for justice.

“When the Police removed the body from the water, they saw that the tongue, the lips, and the genitals were cut off,” he said.

“I filed a complaint but nothing has been done.”

In the most high-profile ritual murder case in Bong County to date, is a 29-year-old girl named Angeline Kolleh, 29, whose body was recently discovered decomposed in the Sugar Hill Community in Gbarnga.

Bong residents disappointed

Residents of the county told FrontPageAfrica Tuesday they are frustrated with the number of apparent ritual killings for multi purposes.

They marched through the streets of Gbarnga to demand that more should be done to address these crimes.

Women of the county under the banner the Bong County Women Association and the Bong Christian Association marched to the Gbarnga administration building on Tuesday and handed over position statements to acting Bong County Superintendent Anthony Sheriff and Bong County Attorney Wilkins Nat detailing several killings that had taken place in Bong County.

The position statement also said that residents in the county no longer feel safe, which is their constitutional rights.

“We present the position statement to the leadership of the county and the joint security apparatus in the county to address the issue of ritual purposes and wants the government empower the security particularly the Police to conduct rigorous search for Moses Porkpah, who is the alleged murder of Doris Nyan to ensure his arrest and to face justice without delay and consequences of his actions,” it said.

‘Police Failing Us’

The document detailed several murder cases which were opened, but in which no arrests were apparently made.

“The death aged 27-year-old Madasu Sannoe, who was reportedly murdered by her husband on June 17, 2015.

The remains of Sannoe is still at the St. Kennedy funeral home without clear decision from either the government nor her family members concerning her burial,” it alleged.

“Secondly, Doris Nyan aged 29 was killed in Cow Farm, Zota district on June 1, 2017 by her husband Moses Porkpah, who also fired two other community people in an effort to get him arrested. To date, Porkpah is yet to be arrested,” it added.

John Flomo aged 30 was killed in Bowee town on October 16, 2016. Jacob Kollie aged 25 was killed in Jennipleta, Jorquelleh District One on December 19, 2016. Ansu Massaquoi aged 45 was killed at Gull farm, Jorquelleh district on January 21, 2017,” it added.

“Our Police are failing us… it is like [criminals] did their own research to find that it will be much easier here because the Police are behaving like school principals sitting in their offices instead of being out in the streets saving lives,” said relatives of Nyan.

It called for the Police to intervene with immediate effect.

“We also expect to get response with immediate effect before the community takes law into their own hands,” the relative said.

Responding to the citizens’ petition, Bong County Attorney, Wilkins Nahn, said the government will ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Nahn called for patience from victims as all was being done to increase the search of Porkpah and other perpetrators. “I would like to thank you for resorting to this peaceful manner but I would like to assure that the Police have been exerting efforts to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested,” he said.

Solurce: Vote-Rich Liberian County Protests Election Year Ritualistic Killings

Sketchy overview of the most famous ritual murder cases in Liberia since the 1960s

As is clear from the article below, all Liberian presidents including William Tubman, William Tolbert, Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as well as other political leaders  are aware of the occurrence of ritual murders in the country, notably during election campaigns. It is even whispered that some presidents had a more than passive role in this respect but these – sometimes persistent – rumors have never been confirmed or proven.

The author, Melvin Pyne, presents an astonishing – sketchy – overview of ritualistic murders from the 1960s onwards hence covering a period of over half a century. 

He hasn’t mentioned them all. Certain cases have never been discovered. The thick Liberian forests hide many ritual murder crimes, I am very sure about this harsh reality, though without having proof of it. Nevertheless I am pretty sure that many people in Liberia will confirm this ‘gut feeling’ of mine (webmaster FVDK).

The Liberian government must take charge of our security, or else…

Published: January 17, 2022
By: Melvin D. Weh – Front Page Africa 

Last year ended on a rather low note for many  Liberians with the wave of alleged ritualistic, serial killings which instilled fear across the country. Communities and residents were on the brink of paranoia. Thus is upsetting the way of life for everyone.

Liberian history tells us that such killings have happened in the past. In the 60s and 70s, Gboyos (Heartmen) ravaged the southeastern parts of the country. Gboyos were a feared society that allegedly wore top hats, black suits, and captured people for ritualistic purposes. They took body parts, especially the hearts of their victims, thus earning them the nickname, Heartmen. The situation was so bad that the citizens pressured the government to act.

In 1979, the administration of President William Tolbert, took action. It investigated and convicted seven individuals including top government officials who were involved in the ritualistic murder of Mr. Moses Tweh in Harper, Maryland County. The court, after hearing the case, established a precedent. They handed down the verdict of guilty. The convicts were sentenced to death and subsequently executed publicly in Harper. Amongst those executed were James Anderson, Superintendent of Maryland County, Allen Yancy, representative of Maryland County and Philip B. Seyton, Senior Inspector of the Ministry of Commerce, Maryland County. This deterrent action practically slowed the act.

Years later in 1989, President Samuel Doe’s administration tried and convicted Defense Minister Maj. General Gray D. Allison and his wife Mrs. Angeline Watta Allison for the ritual murder of a police officer, J. Melvin Pyne in the Caldwell community. Gen. Allison was tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) at a military tribunal, found guilty and sent to Belleh Yalla, the maximum-security prison in Lofa County. His wife was convicted at ‘Criminal Court C’, and sentenced to life imprisonment according to the Mr. Max  Dennis, son of Mrs. Allison.

See: PYJ Hunted As Int’l War Crimes Investigators Arrive In Monrovia – Hot Pepper Releases More On How He Murdered Gray Allison And Wife (published August 12, 2015)

Allison was the most renowned government official convicted during the Doe regime. However, it is reported that an aide to president Doe, Mr. David K. Clarke and five others were tried, convicted and executed for the ritual murder of two little boys in 1987.

See: Ritual killings brings arrest of 6 Liberians (published May 4, 1987; New York Times).

Also: Ritual killings continue to be a plague  (Part III, ‘Liberia Past and Present’; webmaster FVDK))

And: Ritual killing laid to Liberian Official (published August 15, 1989; New York Times)

Liberia: Prince Johnson sentenced my mother to death – Watta Allison’s son breaks silence (published June 28, 2018, FP Africa)  

During the war years and President Taylor’s administration, there were rumors of murders for ‘Juju’ purposes. We must note that those were years of injustice and arbitrary justice, therefore there is not much record on how those cases were legally handled. Men in arms allegedly conducted speedy quasi-investigations and punished alleged perpetrators, wrongly too. Serious attention was not placed on the issues perhaps because killings were almost the norm, sadly.

On 29 June 2005 before the special general elections, there were reports of ritualistic killings almost across the country. The interim leader, Gyude Bryant warned that candidates tempted to boost their chances by carrying out human sacrifices will be executed if caught. While no one was successfully tried and convicted, Mr. Bryant’s warning seemed to have eased the situation for sometimes, as it was observed. ( BBC News, 29 June 2005)

In 2017 during the reign of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, protesters (women in majority) stormed Gbarnga City in demand of answers to over series of young women including 12 years old girl who were seen dead with missing body parts. The women of the county under the banner Bong Women Association and the Bong Christian Association marched in the streets demanding more actions from the government in addressing such monstrous crimes.

See: Vote-Rich Liberian County Protests Election Year Ritualistic Killings (published August 15, 2017, Front Page Africa)

Another notable case of ritual killing was the murder of seventeen years old Cyrus Yeawonyee in September 2015 in the suburb of the commercial city of Ganta. Cyrus was killed and body parts including eyes, ears and tongue were extracted according to report. Cyrus’ convicted killer was another teenager, Jacob Vambo who was sentenced to life in prison in February 2016. Vambo confessed to luring his friend Cyrus into the trap of powerful muscular men who allegedly killed him for a well-connected government official. His claims of the involvement of others in the killing could not be authenticated to punish those he had accused.

However, his lawyer (a Public Defendant) Cllr. Mewaseh Payebayee (late) and some observers believed his claims as they felt such a lanky looking child was incapable of overpowering someone and committing such gruesome murder.

A day after the investigation into Cyrus’ murder case by the Liberia National Police-LNP on 29th September 2015, Ganta experienced one of the most violent disruptions since the civil war. This time, it was a motorcyclist. The news of Cyrus killing was gradually fueling tension when the young man was discovered dead with blood allegedly drained from his body for the wealthy businessperson. Though, investigation disproved the allegation of ritual killing and established that the killing happened as a result of robbery, the damage was done. The popular Alvino Hotel in the City was looted and burned while two persons were reported dead, among the many damages done. About fifty arrests were made in connection to the riot. 

Blood and Power: Investigating a Ritual Murder in Liberia. November 28, 2017 article.
While a teenager is convicted of a gruesome killing, questions linger about occult violence among the power elite. By Ashoka Mokpo 
Click on image to access article 

With such history, it is no surprise why the public will be alarmed if there is a rearing up of such activities. The FrontPage Africa News Paper September 23, 2021 edition reported the alleged murder of John Tubman at his residence with deep cuts in the neck. John was the son of Liberia’s longest serving president William V.S. Tubman. Barely a month later, the death was reported of the renowned Rev. William Richard Tolbert, III, a peace ambassador and son of another former president, William Richard Tolbert, Jr. then, a Madam Maude Elliot of the Liberia Immigration Services (LIS) was also found dead. Both were murdered in their respective homes in similar conditions.

Additionally, amongst many others, the FrontPage Africa newspaper published on November 8, 2021 a list of several murders all of which occurred this year alone with victims displaying similar conditions. On that list was Jane Doe (Unidentified Woman) found on 17th Street Beach (September); Mordecai Nyemah (May), Florence Massaquoi (February), as well as, Robert M. Blamo, Jr., Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, and Siafa G. Boimah.

While last year, amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic, several other killings occurred- Elijah Polumah, Abraham Tumay, and George B. Fanbutu, mentioning a few.

But most troubling of all this were two separate incidents. First, is a statement by President George Weah in November, when he signed the book of condolence for the late Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyenswa. Mr. Weah is on record urging citizens and residents to install at their premises, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras. He pointed out that government’s focus of security was on the country’s borders. Mr. Nyensuah’s death like three other auditors from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is still being investigated. Many believe their deaths were for political reasons or cover up for some malpractices they may have uncovered.

Mr. Weah is either unaware of the financial hardship in the country or does not care much about the innocent lives being lost. A people that can barely afford, how does he expect them to buy CCTVs that cost $1000 USD at a minimum? With many parts of the city out of electricity, how does he expect the cameras to work?

The second concerning issue is the remark made by the Liberia National Police Inspector General, Col. Patrick Sudue at Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) press conference.  Col. Sudue alleged that the news of serial and ritualistic killings in Monrovia and other parts of the country were fake stories being created by opposition politicians who want to implant fear and give negative image of the country and malign government’s reputation.

The IG’s statement on these recent issues suggests a political posturing. While Col. Sudue is a political appointee, the office of the Inspector General needs to be apolitical and professional, always endeavoring to maintain the integrity and independence of the Liberia National Police.

In midst of this scaring security situation, such comments undermine the confidence of the people in the government and the ability of the Liberian National Police to combat these criminal acts.

Such levels of insecurities lead to several dire consequences. Those who can afford, would now take the law into their own hands, those who can’t might find other means not necessarily legal. Are we to now become a lawless society? Then, there is the investment angle. It doesn’t present a secured environment for investors. They could then leave the country and with them other citizens and residents out of fear would flee the country. Investors (local and international) do shy away from investing due to insecurity and lack of justice. When investors do not invest, economically the country is affected as unemployment increases. Government incomes (personal and corporate income taxes are lost. Aggrieved citizens usually take mob justice as the only alternative. These amongst many negative reactions are recipes for chaos and anarchy.

The questions now are: what can be done here to change the atmosphere of fear? And how can we do it?

To these questions considering the preceding, the government is under obligation to protect the lives of those residing in the country. To ensure that the citizens do not regret electing the current administration, she has to act, and do it now. To avoid mob justice, the government must take charge of matters immediately. To avoid fleeing of citizens and other residents from the country, the government must muster the courage to dig deep into these happenings and punish perpetrators. To ensure current and potential investors that their lives and properties will be protected here, the government must change gear and expedite investigations into these matters.

In closing, while these acts have happened in the past, the onus is always on the government to fight them and protect the people. The Liberian National Police has to step-up, take control of the security, and avoid becoming political in handling these issues.

Source: The Liberian Government Must Take Charge Of Our Security, Or Else…

Liberia – another ritualistic murder: missing young woman found dead, body parts extracted

Warning: the following contains graphic details of a ritualistic murder including a photo of the victim (webmaster FVDK).

Last week, the mutilated body of a young woman was discovered in central Liberia. The gruesome discovery took place in Gbarnga, capital of Bong County. The victim, 21-year old Annie Wamah, had been beheaded, vital body parts had been removed by presumably ritualistic murderers.

Liberia has been in the grip of a series of mysterious deaths, rituals murders and rumors alleging a wave of ritualistic killings in the country. As indicated in the article below, in recent months, reported cases of ritual killings have surged in the country. A rising number of mutilated bodies on the streets in the capital Monrovia and other parts of the country this year has sown fear all over the country.

I have reported more than once on this situation, still recently, see my postings earlier this month: on October 9, October 7, October 5, October 4, October 1, and September 30. The Liberian police has denied that ritualistic murders are being committed in this West African country which is notorious for its ritual killings, notably in connection with elections and other major political developments. However, the police confirmed one ritual murder which had taken place in Maryland County, in the southeastern part of the country. But reports of more ritual killings are persistent and several high placed people have condemned these criminal acts which have no place in a modern society.

The inevitable question arises: who is behind the apparent current wave of ritualistic murders? Who is responsible for the ritual killing of Annie Wamah whose dead body was found in Ghankay Farm (a common name in the area and presumably referring to Charles ‘Ghankay’ Taylor’s farm belonging to the warlord-turned-president who’s presently serving a 50-year sentence in a high security prison in the UK). The victim’s throat was slit and her tongue, lips and genitals had been removed, presumably for ‘juju’ purposes. Are ambitious politicians behind the crime or unscrupulous businessmen or -women, or other people who believe that this superstitious act works out positively for them?

Not only do we want to know the truth, the culprits must also be arrested, tried, in a fair trial, and – when found guilty – given the sentence which they deserve. Too many ritualistic murderers in Liberia go unpunished. Impunity is a bitter reality in Liberia. Unfortunately, only too many Liberians can confirm its existence in Africa’s oldest republic (webmaster FVDK).

Liberia: Missing Woman, 21, Found Dead, Body Parts Extracted in Gbarnga

Published: October 15, 2021
By: Selma Lomax – FrontPage Africa, Liberia

GBARNGA, Bong County – Police in Gbarnga on Thursday confirmed the gruesome killing of a 21-year-old girl by persons suspected to be ritualists in the central city of Gbarnga, Bong County.

The police described the incident as “unfortunate and mysterious”. The police said investigation had begun into the case and that the Crimes Services Division (CID) had been directed to take over the case.

Concerned residents had earlier told FrontPageAfrica that the victim, Annie Wamah, was not only killed, she was beheaded and vital organs were removed by suspected rituals.

Also confirming the reports, the deceased’s uncle, Moses Harmon, said his neice, a resident of Buteh Sue community in Gbarnga, electoral District Three, had earlier gone missing on Monday, October 11 around 10:00 am when she arrived in Gbarnga from her parents’ farm in Wainsue Town.

Harmon said he first raised the alarm and organised a search party, but efforts to find her proved abortive until 8:00 p.m. when her corpse was found in Ghankay Farm with her throat slit and other vital organs removed.

“On that fateful day I got a call that my niece was missing and I raised the alarm and asked community members to help the family search for her,” he said.

“The matter was immediately reported at the Police station, but it was not long that information came that her body had been located at Ghankay Farm.

“She was slaughtered like a goat and the corpse dumped in bush,’’ he said. “When the police came and saw the body, they saw that the tongue, the lips, and the genitals were cut off,” Harmon said. “The family filed a complaint but I know it will go nowhere.”

Harmon appealed to police to unravel the sudden death of his neice.

In recent months, reported cases of ritual killings have surged in Liberia. A rising number of mutilated bodies on streets in Monrovia and other parts of the country this year has sown fear in Liberians.

Recently, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.

A day earlier, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, perpetrators have not been arrested.

Liberians have taken to social media to raise alarm about the rise in ritual activities, urging commuters to always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles as they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. 

Amid the scourge in suspected ritualistic activities in the country,  Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue and his deputy Prince Mulbah, say such reports are untrue and being fueled by opposition politicians to tarnish the image of the government.

Sudue and Mulbah, appearing on the national radio few weeks ago, disclosed that the police are only aware of a single ritualistic incident, which occurred in MaryLand County, adding the perpetrators are facing justice.

“People are being paid to tarnish the image of the country and to raise false national security alert. There are inconsistencies in their statements,” Sudue says.

Meanwhile, Mulbah, Deputy Police Inspector General for Administration, described information about ritualistic killings in the country as a ploy designed by the opposition to create fear for diaspora Liberians who want to return home.

“As far our investigations are concerned, we haven’t established anything called ritualistic killing apart from what happened in Maryland County,” Mulbah says.

“We have heard a lot of people talking on social media of people being kidnapped and taken away, these are paid agents.”  

Sudue said most of these social media pictorials and videos about ritualistic incidents are not a representation of what is unfolding in the country.

He warned those involved in orchestrating a negative image about the country to desist, or face the full weight of the law.

However, the country’s Vice President, Jewel Howard-Taylor called on those in authority of the security to take actions that would end the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.

The vice president said Liberians are feeling more insecure than ever due to the rise in suspected ritualistic activities in the country. 

“I’d like to call upon our security sector to please put in place a regime that will enable our people to remain safe. The situation involves instances where women’s private parts are being cut off, stories of young people being taken in specific location where others allegedly were being used for ritualistic purposes are very alarming,” Howard-Taylor said.

Source: Liberia: Missing Woman, 21, Found Dead, Body Parts Extracted in Gbarnga

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