Liberia: ‘Devils’ and ‘Dragons’ – defendant details victim’s death

The case presented below refers to a posting of early this year, on January 26, entitled More women in ritualistic killings in Sinoe County (published by The New Dawn, January 25, 2019). As noted in the article below it is a bizar, strange story and there is no proof that any of the defendants in the murder trial speaks the truth. However, the trial clearly establishes that traditional societies in which witchcraft and juju medicine play an important role still exist in Liberia. It is only one step further to the criminal practices of ritualistic killings. Did the father of the late Willette Nyewallah make this step?

We may never know the answer. However, we will continue to follow up on this story and, in case new developments occur, will inform you accordingly (webmaster FVDK).

Featured photo by Sampson David

Published: August 29, 2019
By: Sampson David – The Bush Chicken

BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – A suspect in the Sinoe gang rape and murder trial has testified in court, accusing the father of the late Willette Nyewallah of ordering his daughter’s murder.

Moses Solo is one of ten suspects the government is trying for torturing and gang-raping three women accused of witchcraft and murdering one of them.

Solo, who acknowledged being a member of the traditional society and called himself the spokesperson for the ‘devil,’ testified last week accusing the victim’s father, Amos Nyewallah, of being the acting traditional chairman of the district.

He said when the three women were turned over to the traditional society because they had been accused of witchcraft, Amos Nyewallah called the devil to come take the women away. The town crier then asked all those around to go indoors, he said.

Solo said once all townspeople were indoor, the devil took the three women to the boundaries of the town. He said it was then that Amos Nyewallah ordered the devil to take away his daughter and extract a body part of hers to use in ritual to solidify his position within the traditional society.

“He told us that he wanted something from his daughter’s body to correct his medicine because the position he currently occupies is someone else’s position, but the person was suspended and if the suspended traditional chairman pays his fine, he could come back to his position,” Solo explained, noting that the victim’s father asked for her left eye.

In a bizarre twist of an already strange tale, Solo said the pain brought on by the removal of the victim’s eye drove her to get angry and she transformed into a dragon to attack the devil. Provoked, the devil then knocked the victim down, killing her. Solo said she was buried near a small creek at 6:30 p.m.

Although activities occurring within the traditional society are meant to be completely secret, Solo said he could not hide anything because the matter has reached to the court.

He also claimed that members of the traditional society were less likely to have raped the women because a traditional law had been passed by the devil that would fine anyone found guilty of rape US$50 and one bag of rice.

He said the two survivors do not know the identities of their rapists, but he knows them. Solo added that of all the suspects on trial, only he and Alex Carpeh, who was also on trial, were members of the traditional society.

On Tuesday, August 27, Amos Nyewallah, the victim’s father, took the witness stand to deny Solo’s allegations that he ordered his own daughter’s death.

While he acknowledged being a member of the traditional society, he said he held no position there and warned that Solo’s statements could damage his reputation.

Nyewallah noted that he worked through the commissioner’s office as chairman of Nomorpoe District, where he is responsible for settling disputes between residents and the Golden Veroleum concession company.

Nyewallah further said he was not present when the incident occurred, but when he returned, he went on the scene at about 6:00 p.m. to where the women were being held to ask the traditional people to release his daughter. His request was, however, refused.

Nyewallah said he then went to the commissioner to complain, but the commissioner told him to continue to plead with the traditional people.

The following day, Nyewallah said he was informed by one of the survivors, Florence Tarkleh, that his daughter had been killed and buried. He said when that happened, family members of the defendants took large sums of money to him to appease him over the death of his daughter, but he told them that the matter was now before the government.

For his part, the district commissioner of Nonorpoe, Alfred Jawolo, corroborated Nyewallah’s story that the victim’s father attempted to get the district commissioner to assist in releasing his daughter.

On the first day of the trial of the case, the Criminal Services Department commander for Sinoe, Joseph Doeplay, also testified that Amos Nyewallah had reported to the police that his daughter was being beaten along with two others. Doeplay said it was because of Nyewallah’s complaint that the suspects were charged and sent to court.

Meanwhile, the court has jailed a man for interfering in the trial by signaling to defendants who have been testifying. Dickson Brown, a resident of Greenville, Sinoe, was first caught signaling to defendants on August 19 when the defendants first began testifying. However, he was pardoned by the court based on the intervention of authorities from Sinoe who were also watching the trial.

The next day, Brown repeated his actions, prompting the court to charge him with contempt of court. He was placed behind bars at the Upper Buchanan Prison Compound from August 20 until August 27. After he was released, authorities directed him to avoid the premises of the Second Judicial Circuit Court until the case has ended.

Source: ‘Devils’ and ‘Dragons’ – Sinoe Gang Rape Case Progresses as Defendant Details Victim’s Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Ritualistic Killings Spark Mob Action in Maryland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our investigation continues.

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

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

Liberia: Albino society announces decrease in stigmatization

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

Liberia: Albino society announces decrease in stigmatization

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

Published: April 3, 2019
By: FrontPage Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liberia: Albino society announces decrease in stigmatization

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nimba County, Liberia

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

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

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

Ritual killings, witch trials go unpunished in Liberia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liberia is located at the west cost of Africa

Wave of ritual killings in Liberia (2015)

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

Published: December 4, 2015
By: The News

Liberia: Our people are frightened 

EDITORIAL

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

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

(………)

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

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

Source: Liberia: Our people are frightened

Liberia is located on the west coast of Africa

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

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

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

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

Published: November 20, 2015
By: The Guardian 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liberia: More women in ritualistic killings in Sinoe County

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

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

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

Published: January 25, 2019
By: The New Dawn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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