Liberia: Joseph Marzah, key Massaquoi ally, says Finnish Court got it wrong

Earlier this month I already reported on the acquittal of Gibril Massaquoi, who stood trial in Finland, accused of war crimes and human rights violations during Liberia’s civil war. See my post entitled Liberia war crimes: Sierra Leone rebel commander acquitted of rape, ritual murder and the recruitment of child soldiers.

The article below refers to statements made by Joseph Marzah, a former rebel-general and a former key ally of Gibril Massaquoi. Joseph Marzah, commonly known as “Zizar Marzah” said that the Finnish District Court got it wrong when it acquitted Massaquoi of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Liberia.

The reason for including Marzah’s observations and denial is to demonstrate the complexity of war crimes courts and the handling of accusations against suspected perpetrators of war crimes including ritualistic murders. The fact that during Liberia’s civil war(s) ritualistic activities including ritual murders have been committed is not disputed. For shortness sake I may refer here to the Final Report of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released in 2009, which report provides ample examples of these horrific crimes.

(To be continued, see my May 24 posting)
(webmaster FVDK)

Liberia: Key Massaquoi Ally Says Finnish Court Got it Wrong

Published: May 17, 2022
By: FrontPage Africa – FPA Exclusive by Anthony Stephens with New Narratives

MONROVIA – A key former ally of Gibril Massaquoi, the Revolutionary United Front commander, says a Finnish District Court got it wrong when it acquitted Massaquoi of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Liberia.

Joseph Marzah, commonly known as “Zizar Marzah”, was a fierce general with then-president Charles Taylor’s forces in the period Finnish prosecutors alleged Massaquoi conducted his crimes during a trial that lasted more than a year. Marzah was a key figure, accused repeatedly by witnesses of atrocities allegedly committed with Massaquoi in Lofa County. In an exclusive interview with New Narratives last week at his residence along the Monrovia-Robertsfield highway, Marzah insisted Massaquoi was among the RUF troops Taylor sent to Liberia to help defend his government against the uprising by the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel group that would eventually drive Taylor to resign in August 2003.

In an 850-page ruling, the Finnish judges found there was “reasonable doubt” as to whether Massaquoi, who denied the charges, was in Liberia when the alleged crimes took place. They acquitted Massaquoi of all charges. Prosecutors plan to appeal.

“Gibril Massaquoi fully took part in war here,” Marzah said listing the Lofa towns he was with Massaquoi. “He passed through the towns of Zorzor, Fessibu and Vasala.”

Marzah said Massaquoi was decorated with the rank of Captain at Taylor’s direction because of his strong performance on the frontlines of battle.

“Gibril Massquoi was assigned to me. When we sent him for our logistics like arms and ammunition, he went for them and brought them to us,” said Marzah. “Where there was intense fighting, he joined us to fight. In 2001 and 2002, he was with us, and we battled LURD in Chicken Soup Factory, Double Bridge, ELWA and Shefflin.”

Marzah’s claims back the allegations put forward by Finnish prosecutors that Massaquoi had been active in Liberia’s second civil war between 1999 and 2003. The indictment alleged Massaquoi committed rape, torture, ritual murder, torture and recruitment of child soldiers in villages in Lofa County in the years 2000-2002.

In the most shocking crime heard during trial, Liberian witnesses testified that dozens of women and children were forced into a kitchen building that was set alight, burning them to death.

Marzah, no doubt mindful of his own risk of prosecution, did not concede that he and Massaquoi committed any crimes. But he insisted Massaquoi was with him, as many had witnesses testified, in Lofa during the 2001-2002 period.

“If Gibril Massaquoi denies that he was with me, NPFL, I would like for us to sit face-to-face (in court) so that I can question him like the scenario between Taylor and I. I fear nothing.”

However, Marzah cast doubt on the most contentious prosecution accusation: that Massaquoi escaped a UN-backed safehouse in Freetown between June and August 2003 to fight for Taylor in the Waterside area of Monrovia. 

“In 2003, I only heard that he came (from Sierra Leone) and went back. I was assigned to Grand Cape Mount County at the time.”

Marzah claimed Massaquoi escaped Liberia in 2002 after he stole from Taylor.

“After we had made two trips (with two jars of diamonds) along with the logistics to Taylor, he left us because he ran away with the third jar of diamonds,” said Marzah. “When the order came that if we saw Gibril Massaquoi, we should execute him because of the diamonds he stole and ran away with, I didn’t see him then.”

Massaquoi’s Lawyer, Kaarle Gummerus denied commenting on Marzah’s allegations, telling this reporter in a WhatsApp message “the defense does not feel the need to comment on Mr. Marzah’s allegations”.

Marzah said he was approached by representatives of the Finnish investigators in the case and was willing to testify. He did not say why he was not called to give evidence.

In a WhatsApp message Tom Laitienen, the Chief Prosecutor for the case said “We considered Marzah as a witness, but practical issues hindered us from hearing him. We will most likely consider him again if he agrees to testify.”

When pressed as to what the practical issues may have been Laitinen said “unfortunately, I cannot discuss them in detail, but they include his possible role in the suspected crimes and his role as a witness to the Special Court.”

It is not clear that Marzah’s testimony would have made a difference in the verdict. The court found many of the witnesses, including those who claimed to be ex-soldiers of Charles Taylor’s army, were unreliable. It said they had provided contradictory and inconsistent statements between the investigation and the trial. The court found it likely they had been influenced to a degree.

“The witnesses’ accounts have been very similar in some respects, and in some respects they have changed in court in the same way compared to the pre-trial phase,” said the ruling. “This has been the case in particular with regard to the time of the events. This suggests a kind of collective processing of the facts on the basis of which the witnesses formed their perceptions, or at least external influences. In some respects it has been difficult to distinguish between what was based on the witness’s own observations and what was otherwise based on information obtained by the witness. These factors undermine the reliability and relevance of individual reports as evidence.”

While the court was persuaded that Massaquoi, whose testimony played a key role in the conviction of Taylor and a dozen top rebel leaders in the Special Court for Sierra Leone, held very high rank in the RUF, it was not convinced he committed war crimes in Liberia.

The Court’s ruling was almost entirely about inconsistencies in the witnesses’ testimonies. It cited as examples, where some of the witnesses were not exact about key dates and names of individuals who may have carried out crimes. In one instance, witnesses accused Massaquoi of being responsible for mass killings in Kamatahun, Lofa County. In another instance, they attributed the crimes to Marzah.

“It has emerged from several witness accounts that “Zig Zag” Marzah or “Stanley” [another Taylor commander] had been responsible for the burning of people in the Lofa area, especially in Kamatahun.”  

Marzah Denies Allegations

Marzah, now 64 and living in a remote part of his native Nimba County, denies he committed any atrocities.

He claimed to have provided safety for members of the Gbandi tribe, who were allegedly burnt alive in buildings, because, he claimed, his wife was a Gbandi woman. Marzah denied he was in the town when the alleged killings took place.

“It was Benjamin Yeaten [another top Taylor commander known as “Chief 50”] who sent Brigadier General Gourtor, [known as “Idi Amin” after the late Ugandan President], “Butu Lazen” and the late “Busy Boy”. They went to Kamatahun Hassala to carry out those executions,” Marzah alleged.

Yeaten, whose whereabouts are unknown, was mentioned many times by witnesses. They told the court Yeaten was very close to Taylor and coordinated the operations of government and RUF forces. Taylor, who is currently serving a 50-year sentence in a British jail for aiding and abetting Sierra Leone’s civil war, funded the operations of the RUF by giving them arms and ammunitions in exchange for diamonds according to the Special Court. 

Marzah said there were times that both RUF and Taylor’s forces backed up each other, depending on the scale of the attacks they experienced from opponents.

Special Court former Trial Attorney Backs Marzah’s Comments

Marzah’s comments were backed up by Chris Santora, a former Trial Attorney for the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone and on the Taylor trial.

“Whoever really understands well the history of the links between Charles Taylor and the RUF trial knows that top RUF commanders were often in Liberia interacting at many levels with Benjamin Yeaten and Charles Taylor throughout 2000 and 2001,” said Santora.

“The reasons were many not least of which was Taylor’s use of the RUF in his own war in Liberia but also this was when the diamond pipeline was at its peak as the RUF had firm control of the diamond areas of Kono. Many of these RUF commanders including Massaquoi were back and forth frequently through 2001 as they were running diamonds. (sometimes their own side deals others through Taylor) The finding of the Finish District Court which says that Gibril Massaquoi was not anymore traveling at all to Liberia after June 2001 does not accord with the overwhelming evidence I myself have seen. It doesn’t make sense in the larger context of events at that time period,” said Santora.

Marzah Supports a War Crimes Court for Liberia

Once considered a Taylor trusted general, Marzah, dismissed allegations that he betrayed his former boss. But he said he did oppose Taylor by the end. He was  “killing our people slowly,” Marzah said. He blamed Taylor for the murders of a long list of individuals, including Enoch Dogolea, Taylor’s first Vice President and Samuel Dokie, a leading opposition politician with the Unity Party at the time.

Marzah is ranked 66th on a list of 100 most notorious perpetrators recommended for prosecution for gross human rights violations by Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But in the interview he expressed support for a war crimes court and said he was willing to appear.

“I prefer it to be in Liberia,” he said. “There are some wicked people. Some did nothing, some went in the government because they have connections. Some carried out destruction. So, it’s better for the war crimes court to come to sifter all of us. I am willing for it to come. That’s the time we all will explain everything in detail.”

Prosecutors will file a motion to appeal the District Court’s acquittal in coming weeks.

This story was produced in collaboration with New Narratives as part of its West Africa Justice Reporting Project.

Source: Liberia: Key Massaquoi Ally Says Finnish Court Got it Wrong

The barbaric act of ritual killing still present in Liberia – citizens protesting against unsolved ritual murders and rising insecurity  

As I wrote earlier, 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 – though the recent spate of killings and mysterious disappearances dates from earlier. It started in 2020 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. See my December 2021 posting UN human rights expert urges Liberia to probe suspected ritual killings.

Unfortunately, ritual murders in Liberia are a permanent feature of Liberia’s history and society. See the brief overview which I posted in early 2022, Sketchy overview of the most famous ritual murder cases in Liberia since the 1960s.

What can I add besides dismay and the ardent wish that these barbaric practices cease to exist? The following article demonstrates that the Liberian government continues to fail in providing protection to its citizens and maintaining the rule of law by arresting, prosecuting and sentencing the culprits of these heinous crimes (webmaster FVDK).

Living In Extreme Fear, Liberia A Country Where Citizens Are Unsafe

Published: March 28, 2022
By: FrontPage Africa, Editorial Board

LIBERIA IS FAST gaining notoriety as a country of ritualists with stories of mysterious deaths daily reported in the traditional and social media. 

THE LATEST IS THE GRUESOME murder of Princess Cooper who was discovered dead in a fence that is attached to the Fawaz building materials store at the ELWA Junction on   March 24, 2022. 

PRINCESS’ GRUESOME murder is only an addition to the harvest of deaths by ritualists in the last few weeks across Liberia. Recently, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted. To 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, the perpetrators have not been arrested.

THE MURDER OF PRINCESS has sent shock waves to all as anybody’s child, relative or friend could be the next victim.  

CONTRARY TO THE EXPECTATIONS of compatriots after the current administration came into office, a general feeling of insecurity and helplessness is on the increase in Liberia.

FROM ARMED ROBBERIES to ritual killings, Liberians are worried that they have been given the short end of the stick. 

IN ALL OF THIS, the security forces appear to be helpless as well. The Police, especially charged with internal security virtually lie prostrate in the face of security challenges. 

INDEED, LIBERIANS no longer have the inner confidence that the country can protect lives and property and provide a climate where prosperity could spring from.

ADDED TO THIS IS THE TENSION caused by the rising cost of living, inflation, failing businesses, the abysmal rate of exchange of Liberian dollars to the United States dollars, unemployment, and a feeling of despondency are challenges we also face. 

PEOPLE ARE DISENCHANTED with the current government because of its failure to address the basic daily problems, which confront them. Uncertainty about the fate of the economy and how to face the future is also a major concern.

ENSURING GENERAL security is the main duty of government to the people. Any government, which fails to guarantee the safety of life and property is not worth its salt. 

FURTHERMORE, after criminal acts have been carried out, the Police ought to be able to fish out the culprits. Our experience has been that criminals of some dastardly crimes are hardly ever caught. Intelligence gathering has failed. Crime prevention is abysmal. Crime detection appears worse.

COUNTLESS FAMILIES have been subjected to the trauma of mysterious deaths, and the time has come for the Liberia National Police to develop a counter-measure to this menace. 

THE BARBARIC ACT of ritual killing is still present with us. Some depraved citizens still believe that offering a human being for sacrifice is a gateway to prosperity. 

REPORTS OF DISAPPEARED children or ladies are rife. Sometimes, corpses are found with missing body parts. Unlike their counterparts in other climes who pursue mysterious murder cases to a logical conclusion the Liberian Police is not known to take this task seriously. 

ONE OF THE OBLIGATIONS of power, which the people entrusted to the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government is to create and sustain an atmosphere in the polity where individual and collective security is guaranteed. 

THE PRESIDENT and his government, the Liberia National Police under the supervision of Col. Marvin Sackor should rise to the occasion and reassure all that the situation can be controlled. 

PRESIDENT WEAH should go beyond lamentation and take drastic action and must dig into the root cause of this barbaric act and approach it from there.

WHAT WE ARE seeing are symptoms rather than cause and the president should make affirmative pronouncements and take concrete actions to instill confidence in the people.

Source: Living In Extreme Fear, Liberia A Country Where Citizens Are Unsafe

And:

Liberia: Citizens Plan To Protest Against Unsolved ”Murders” and Rising Insecurity On Monday

Liberia Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean

Published: March 27, 2022
By: African Star

Monrovia, Liberia – March 27, 2022  

It now appears that unsolved murders and increasing crime in the Liberian capital over time are now triggering a citizens’ response in the form of a planned protest being organized under a trending social media hashtag #JusticeforPrincessCooper.

Late Princess Cooper – Photo courtesy of Facebook

According to our Correspondent in Monrovia, the lifeless body of a young Liberian female name Princess Cooper was found late last week in the compound of a business in Monrovia and it was the latest unexplained death. On Friday the body of a man was found in the suburb of Johnsonville. No arrests have been made. 

Police preliminary report dismissed “foul play” but say they are continuing their investigation in the death of the victim. There has, however, been a fierce backlash against the preliminary report of the police by citizens who say they are highly frustrated with the high level of crime, violence and insecurity in the county which is still recovering from back-to-back wars in the 1990s which killed an estimated 250,000 persons. 

Organizers of the impending citizens protest who posted to social media listed the names of 19 individuals and incidents of alleged murder and disappearance and crime hotspots in the capital Monrovia and are urging residents of various communities in Monrovia to gather on Monday, March 28 for the peaceful protest to highlight the rising level of insecurity in the country. 
No once has been prosecuted.

Various Liberian social media groups have blown up in the last few days with postings expressing outrage at the lack of security for citizens.

A sophomore student at the state-run University of Liberia told African Star in an interview that while she appreciated the Government’s foreign policy position of urging Russia to provide humanitarian assistance and protection for the people of Ukraine, the Weah Administration was failing to provide safety for its own citizens. “The first duty of Government is the protection and welfare of its citizens,” the Liberia college student emphasized.

African Star has not been able to authenticate the identities of the March organizers although it appears to have been organized spontaneously by concerned citizens. 

The unsolved alleged murders, ritualistic killings and disappearances are compounded by other issues including lack of reliable power and worsening sanitation problems which some international partners have cited to the embarrassment of the Government of Liberia. 

A diplomatic source in Monrovia told African Star on Saturday that the Monrovia City Government and the City Mayor appear to have lost complete control of effectively managing Monrovia. 

Recently the Inspector General Of Police Colonel Patrick Sudue tried to deflect responsibility for the dismal performance on public safety when he described the rising spate of murders and crime country as “fake stories being created by opposition politicians” to a give negative image of the country and damage government’s reputation.

Last January, the Police Inspector, however, complained that local logistical constraints, including lack of internet availability, were preventing Police from staying connected to Interpol. 

It is unclear if Liberia’s Ministry of Justice and Police are aware of the peaceful protest on Monday and whether it will be allowed, since President George M. Weah is out of the country attending a business conference considered as Expo 2020 even though it is 2022. African Star Correspondence in Dubai said it is unclear how the business meeting is dubbed as Expo 2020 in Dubai instead of 2022. President Weah in a speech in Dubai referred to the business session of the conference as Expo 2020.
Presidential Affairs Minister Nathaniel F. McGill in the office of the President is also out of the country in the United States.

Government security forces have violently cracked down on prior citizens’ peaceful protests. 

By Our Correspondent in Monrovia

African Star  

Source: Liberia: Citizens Plan To Protest Against Unsolved ”Murders” and Rising Insecurity On Monday

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: opposition leader Alexander Cummings comments on mysterious deaths, unsolved gruesome murders and reports of ritualistic killings

Introduction
In previous posts I highlighted the articles published by two leading Liberian newspapers, Frontpage Africa and the Daily Observer. Also The New Dawn, another well-known Liberian newspaper, has been paying attention to the increasing unrest and insecurity in the country which resulted from the unexplained deaths, disappearances and murders. In the first of three articles presented below, one of Liberia’s main opposition politicians, the leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander Cummings, criticizes the Weah Administration for the lack of security in the country and its lack of action. The author of the second article wonders whether there exists a death squad in the country, given the series of unexplained deaths. The third and final article reports on an alleged murder attempt for ritualistic purposes as well as the discovery of a dead body in the streets of Monrovia causing panic and fear among the residents of the area.   

Warning: some readers may find the following articles disturbing because of their graphic contents (webmaster FVDK).

Reports of rising wave of murders worry Cummings

Published: November 10, 2021
By: The New Dawn, Liberia

The Standard-bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander B. Cummings says his heart is broken by the rising wave of murders and other acts of lawlessness overtaking the Liberian society.

At least three high profile individuals who have been discovered murdered in their homes in recent times-two are the sons of two former Presidents, Tubman and Tolbert.

Last week the Ministry of Justice ordered post mortem examinations on the remains of John Tubman, Maude Elliot, and William R. Tolbert, III – who were all discovered dead in their homes – as part of a full-scale investigation.

In a podcast over the weekend, why extending his deepest condolences to all the bereaved families, Cummings was irritated that under the George Weah administration, the Liberian Government has continued to fail the nation. Below is his full text.

Cummings: “Under this President, the Liberian Government continues to fail the nation.  The security situation in the country is worsening daily. Communities are unsafe, streets are unsafe, and homes are unsafe. One does not require any statistics to know Monrovia, the nation’s Capital, is overcome by fear and rising crimes. And yet, the President’s response was to disdainfully tell Liberians to buy and install close circuit televisions (CCTV) in their homes.

As families are grieving the many mysterious deaths, unsolved gruesome murders and reports of ritualistic killings that are laying siege to the society, an uncaring President Weah is vacationing at his Jamaica Resort irresponsibly disconnected from the daily living and entrapping fears of Liberians. The President is offering no real solutions to the rising wave of crimes and murders, and some of the government’s explanations around the mysterious deaths and murders have left more questions than they have sought to answer.

Protecting lives is the most basic duty of any responsible government. The Liberian President is the constitutional Head of State and Head of Government. As such, this basic duty begins and ends with President George Weah and he has failed at it.

No government can prevent the commission of all crimes. But no government must be repeatedly unresponsive as this Liberian Government to the rising wave of crimes overtaking the society. Also, no President ought to be vacationing while Liberians are being murdered, including in their homes. No President ought to be partying while murderous crimes are sweeping communities leaving Liberians to live in terror and fear.

Every Liberian life is precious. Therefore, I urge all Liberians to be careful. Move about in pairs. Look out for each other in the communities. Check on each other. Setup and enable community watch teams where it does not already exist and help each other when you sense someone is in distress. We can no longer depend on the failed government. Therefore, we must look to depend on each other for mutual security.

Liberia deserves better.

Source: Reports of rising wave of murders worry Cummings

Related:

Liberia: Signs of an emerging death squad

The deceased, Rev. William Tolbert, III

Published: November 4, 2021
By: The New Dawn, Liberia

Liberia: The wave of suspicious killings in Monrovia and parts adjacent is both scary and very disappointing, particularly under a civilian administration where security or law and order should be paramount. However, it seems that ghastly killings in homes every other week or month have become common in our society with the authority at the highest level remaining conspicuously silent.

Our attention is drawn to the suspicious death of three high-profile personalities, two of them, officials of government and a highly established private citizen in just over a month.

On Tuesday, November 2, 2021, the Government of Liberia announced the death of Liberia’s Peace Ambassador Rev. William R. Tolbert, III, youngest son of slain President Dr. William R. Tolbert, Jr. According to the Ministry of Information, Rev. Tolbert was discovered dead at his residence in Monrovia on Sunday, October 31, in what the Liberia National Police described as a suspected homicide. The same day, female officer Maude Elliott of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) said to be in her 50s, was found brutally murdered at home in Brewerville, outside Monrovia.

Earlier, in September this year, specifically September 22, 76-year-old John Hilary Tubman, a son of another former President, William V.S. Tubman, was reportedly found dead lying face down in a pool of blood with deep cuts to his neck and forehead with a pillow placed over his head at his residence in Fiamah community, Monrovia.

Interestingly, these personalities were alone in their respective homes when they were brutally killed. These are nothing else, but targeted murders that raise a concern about something sinister being perpetrated, and Police investigations should be able to establish.

There were other mysterious deaths in and around the city prior to these three specific cases listed above. And from the trend of events, we can deduce that there is a pattern being unleashed by a probable death squad that is roaming and seeking its next target.

The killings bear similar wounds that were inflicted in specific parts of the body, indicating there is a hired killer or a group of hired killers involved. Who are they working for is yet to be established but their targets may signal something.

Are we returning to the days of the Charles Julu death squad under slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe? God forbid! But the writings on the wall spell bad omen for our beloved country.

Sadly however, Civil Society, religious leaders and institutions including men and women of moral conscience in our society are silent about the unfolding development. Today, the late John Hilary Tubman, Officer Maude Elliott and Rev. William R. Tolbert, III, are the latest victims of this creeping evil in our country. We don’t who’s next.

Society should speak out now before it becomes too late. It is citizens’ alienable right guaranteed by our Constitution to peacefully assemble, protest and petition their representatives against anything that threatens their peace and happiness. If the current killings must stop, Liberians should rise up now!

Source: Liberia: Signs of an emerging death squad

Related:

Fear in Monrovia

Published: September 14, 2021
By: Lincoln G. Peters – The New Dawn, Liberia

Fear has gripped residents in Monrovia after a woman was discovered dead on 17th Street, Sinkor, a suburb of the Liberian capital early Tuesday morning, 14 September 2021, days after another lady claimed to have survived an attempt by her kidnappers to slaughter her for ritualistic purposes.

Residents of the 17th Street, Sinkor community woke up to the horrible news of the discovery of an unidentified woman on the beachside of the community.

Some residents who gathered at the scene have told reporters that the lady was unknown in the community, saying they have never been in the area prior to her death.

They narrated that the deceased appeared to have been sexually harassed and killed in another community by the alleged perpetrators before bringing her corpse to Sinkor and dumping it on the beachside. There were bruises on the lady’s lifeless body and blood was pouring out of it as well.

But James Pewe, a resident of the community, believed that the lack of police patrol in the area was responsible for the lady’s death.

He also said residents of the community are not standing up to take action in helping to protect the community.

Blama Kenneh, a businessman in the area said the young lady’s corpse was the second to have been discovered after a young mad person was also discovered in the nearby vicinity in recent months.

However the spokesman of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Moses Carter said the lady found dead was mentally ill.

The police spokesman told reporters that the deceased was sexually tempered with, and quoted family sources as saying that the lady left her home last week prior to the incident. He noted that police are investigating circumstances leading to her death.

Items found on the scene  belonging to the lady included an empty bag, long sticks, and other lady materials.

Source: Fear in Monrovia

Liberia: a wave of mystery murders, disappearances and ritual killings

The social unrest in Liberia continues. Reports of mysterious murders, unexplained disappearances and ritualistic activities continue unabated. Recently, I’ve reported multiple times on this site on the daily fear of ordinary Liberian citizens following the discovery of bodies ‘with some vital parts missing’ – an obvious reference to ritualistic activities – and after the discovery of victims of some of the gruesome murders which shocked Monrovia’s residents. See my posts of September 30, October 1, October 4, October 5, October 7, October 9, October 22 and October 23.

In the article below Joe Teh reflects on the possible causes of the current wave of mystery murders, disappearances and ritual killings which terrorizes Liberians. Interestingly, the first possible explanation he gives focuses on the general and presidential elections slated for 2023. This is not surprising. Liberia has a bad reputation in this respect. Secondly, he mentions Liberia’s open borders and the country’s fragile if not outright failing security system as another possible cause. In this respect, it is illustrative that the National Police Director, Patrick Sudue, has been denying that ritualistic murders are being committed in Liberia – in spite of the overwhelming evidence.

So far, President Weah has remained silent on this sensitive subject. The reasons for his silence are unknown but this only causes the persistence and spread of rumors and speculations. This is not how to rule a country. The government must act.

This is also the plea worded by Joe Teh in the article below. His article is recommended reading (webmaster FVDK). 

Police Must Step Up To Stop the Wave of Killings and Disappearances in Liberia

Published: November 9, 2021
By: Guest contributor Joe Teh – Daily Observer, Liberia

For those who are quite older as I’m, I presume memories of sudden disappearances of people and secret killings have been flashing across the psyche of Monrovia residents in the past several weeks or months. The series of secret killings allegedly going on in and around the city are scenes very hard to process.

For impoverished people for whom there is no public policy response to address their poverty and other social woes, living from day to day, going out and hustling to survive is marked by fear and terror. Yet, the ongoing mysterious disappearances of some residents in the city and the unsolved murders in the communities are a brutal reminder of the “boyo” era in the southeastern region of Liberia, especially Maryland County in the 1960s and ‘70s.

In those days, individuals seeking higher positions of influence in government, or wanting to maintain power, were alleged to have paid middlemen to kidnap and murder people for ritualistic purposes. Vital parts and organs were extracted from victims to satisfy “juju” or voodoo doctors’ requirements for a “powerful” desirous outcome.

The wave of ritualistic killings inflicted terror on the people who, for most part, must walk distances by foot to their farms or villages. You never know when a car will stop by you in a quiet alley or highway, especially when you are a lone traveler or two. “Heart men”,  as the heartless killers were paradoxically called, would either offer you a ride or simply jump on you and subdue you to whisk you away to where they can murder you and take your heart and other organs.

The local and central governments remained silent and paid deaf ears to the horrific pains and despair impacting the general population. The simple fact is that some of the key government officials were instigators and participants in such barbaric behavior. They had personal connections in high places, which made it impossible for them to be exposed to the public. Those were the heydays of the now decadent True Whig Party.

And the lesson from history is the biblical precept: Make sure your sin will find you out. And like we say in Liberia, “99 days for rogue, one day for master.” 

So came the time when heart men could not get protection from high places. The killing of a poor fisherman—Moses Tweh–in Harper, Maryland, exposed the likes of James D. Anderson, Superintendent of Maryland; Allen Yancy, member of the House of Representatives from Maryland County and son of disgraced Vice President Allen Yancy; Moses Seton, Wleh Taryonnoh and all other middlemen involved in the disappearance and murder of Moses Tweh. After they were tried and found guilty, they were put to death by hanging. 

At the end of the 1980s, disappearances again resurfaced. This time, the victims were professional men. Each victim murdered was suspected of being either a political opponent of the government or perceived to be a supporter of opposition. No ritual purpose was suspected here.

Fast forward to the war and beyond. People were killed either because of their ethnicity or because they had been government employees.

During the time of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU), rebels’ killing of civilians and dissenting fighters became common in the streets and neighborhoods of IGNU controlled areas.

The police, under the command of Brownie Samukai, set up a special unit called Rapid Response UNIT. This was an elite unit which helped crack down criminals and stopped the wave of killings and burglaries in the town.

Few other mysterious deaths plagued the nation during the Ellen Johnson and the current George Weah administrations. The suspicious deaths of Michael Allison and Harry Greaves during the Ellen era as well as those of the four auditors from the Liberia Revenue Authority stand out. Why and how those well-meaning compatriots died remain mindboggling.  Their killers have not been identified, or are efforts actually being made to apprehend the perpetrators of those dastardly acts?

But the trauma of such murders lives in the minds of the public. Added to that are the sightings of corpses in different communities in and around Monrovia in recent weeks with parts allegedly missing. A girl peddling a small market was found with feet and hands tied in an unfinished building in Monrovia. Her mouth also choked with clothes. Another man allegedly said he escaped from his captors and that he witnessed the murder of a boy who was in captivity with him.

To the contrary, the senior brass of the Liberia National Police have characteristically downplayed these reports and blamed the opposition political parties of instilling fears in the public to besmear the image of the government.

Really? It’s scary. If nothing else, the police authority’s response is further undermining the peoples’ trust in the security apparatus for protection. It is a flagrant disregard for history.

The police further said the corpses found around the city were dumped by relatives who could not afford to bury their dead family members. Isn’t that an insane assertion? The police’s continuous denial of ritual killings may encourage more deaths, because those murderous knuckleheads might perceive such irrational denials as a license to further kill. It may only exacerbate public panic as to where their country is headed.

There are two interesting facts why ritual killing is possible currently in Liberia. The first is the looming elections in 2023. Government positions are the most lucrative in terms of pay and perks, both official and unofficial. Most offices, without initiating programs in their sectors, bring zero balance forward at the end of the fiscal year. What have they done? There is no accountability.

The second is the unrestricted borders and weak security system. You can pass with anything, good or bad at the ports of entry/exit without problem. Just have your bribes in U.S. dollars ready and then literally anything is possible. With demand for human parts such as kidneys, surging in different parts of the world, including some neighboring countries, human parts marketers could be paying people to kidnap, kill and harvest parts for the buyers.

Like the man who escaped from his kidnappers at night, he said he overheard captors receiving US$12,000 as pay from the person who ordered them to seek and kill humans for their parts, like buying old, scrapped materials.

The third simply makes no sense. For example, why would people kill an immigration officer? Why would a man who is peacefully living pursuing happiness and serving God be murder; such as William R. Tolbert,III, son of assassinated President of Liberia? What has the son of former Liberian President Tubman be killed in cold blood? And the government is silent.

Our security system is fragile. Anything is possible.

This is why the police need to step up to investigate every piece of information about missing person and suspicious death. To merely brush aside reports of mysterious deaths does not help to boost confidence in the integrity of the security sector. Its net effect is to drive potential investors away. People planning to attend the bi-centennial celebrations in Monrovia, will also be scared away by these sad events.

In times like these, as in the late seventies, police need to act on every lead to find perpetrators of ritual killing in order to stamp out this evil act, so that people are safe to live in peace and go about their normal business. On the contrary, Police Director Patrick Sudue, sitting stone-faced in denial and then threatening a few law-abiding citizens, who are currently mustering the courage to divulge pieces of information about such heinous crimes, instead of encouraging people to convey more tips to the police, reeks of the obnoxious ineptitude and do-nothing syndrome that are spiraling Liberia into developmental doldrums.

Joe Teh, author of this article is Chief Content Officer of a U.S.-based online Magazine “lib-variety.org. He was also former News editor of the New Democrat, and Chief News editor of Star radio up to its closure by the Charles Taylor government on March 15, 2001. He now lives in Springfield, Mass. Joe Teh, can be reached at joetehwrites@lib-variety.org. 

Source: Police Must Step Up To Stop the Wave of Killings and Disappearances in Liberia

Rev. Daniel Jensen Seyenkulo, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia speaks out against ritualistic killings and accuses politicians

On October 21, 2021, Bishop Seyenkulo made strong statements condemning the lack of security following the current wave of ritualistic killings in the country and criticizing the Weah Administration for not doing enough to protect Liberian citizens. It is interesting to note that he accused ambitious politicians of being responsible for these murders. In his view the killing of innocent people is carried out by some people who are seeking political powers or have the power, but wish to be more powerful.

Wow, a very serious accusation! I wish to commend Bishop Seyenkulo for speaking out and daring to mention the involvement if not responsibility of ambitious politicians. Unfortunately, the link between ritualistic acts including murder and ambitious political careers is not a recent one on Liberia. I have referred to this connection already several times – both on the present site and elsewhere, on my website ‘Liberia: Past and Present of Africa’s Oldest Republic‘. 

Bishop Seyenkulo further explicitly mentioned a number of recent ritual murder cases. Indirectly, he thus criticized the Inspector General of the Liberian National Police, Patrick Sudue, who earlier this months had publicly denied the existence of a wave of ritualistic murders in the country.

Warning: the following article contains graphic details of ritual murders which may disturb some readers (webmaster FVDK).

‘We Will Never Develop Under Clouds of Fear’ –Rev. Daniel Jensen Seyenkulo, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, warns, following reports of ritualistic killings

Rev. Daniel Jensen Seyenkulo, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia.

Published: October 22, 2021
By: David S. Menjor – Daily Observer, Liberia

Rev. Daniel Jensen Seyenkulo, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, has expressed dismay over what he referred to as the President George Manneh Weah administration’s alleged failure to protect its citizens against ritualistic killings and many other security threats in the country.

“The Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL) is troubled by the continuous allegations of disappearances and unexplained deaths of citizens within our borders,” Bishop Seyenkulo said at a press conference held at his office in Sinkor, Monrovia on Thursday, October 21. “We are further seriously disturbed that the state security actors have shown their inability to control the situation. The mysterious disappearances and the security actors’ inaction or inconclusive investigations destroy Liberia’s image abroad and undermine development.” 

He said as a church, his congregation dares to oppose anything that creates fear and deprives people of the land of their peaceful existence. He said the church will continue to make a public outcry against the loss of innocent lives. He added that the act of killing innocent people is carried out by some people who are seeking political powers or have the power, but wish to be more powerful and recognized differently among their colleagues.

Bishop Seyenkulo outlined cases of alleged ritualistic killings, kidnappings, to include the September 12, 2021 incident involving a young lady who reported to the Police that she was allegedly kidnapped and was nearly killed ritualistically by some unknown men.

“She narrated that a chemical was used on her and that rendered her unconscious while on a motorcycle. That was barbaric and totally cruel,” he said. “In addition, in the morning of September 14 in this same year (2021), a woman in her 40s was found dead by residents of 17th Street Community in Sinkor. Her body was found on the beach and without clothes on her. At the same time, on September 21, the gruesome murder of John Hilary Tubman at his home located in Sinkor, Monrovia, at night, was reported by community residents.”

The Lutheran Bishop continued that the lifeless body of a man in his 40s was found in Soul Clinic community with his penis, tongue, and eyes missing, while a lady in her 30s was also found dead in Samukai Town, Upper Caldwell, with parts missing too. He also recounted the 13-year-old girl named Fatu Kiazolu, whose living body was found on October 7, 2021, in Gbah, Bomi County tied at her hands and legs in an unfinished building by unknown men.

“A 21-year-old Annie Warmah, after going missing on October 11, was found dead near Taylor’s farm on October 13 with body parts missing. These gruesome, cruel acts done to appease the gods who supposedly have the power to reward the beneficiaries, are threatening our security and causing us to live in fear. It has been shown that the majority of our own population believes in one God Who lets the sunshine equally on the just and the unjust,” Bishop Seyenkulo said.

He noted that his Church strongly condemns the barbaric acts and calls on the government to provide security for all citizens and others in the borders of the country.

“We will never realize our development goals nor enjoy the freedom we have received from our Creator under the clouds of fear. These waves of senseless killings, based on unfounded beliefs that fresh human blood and twitching human body parts have magical powers, have instilled fear in the Liberian population and businesses are shutting down earlier, further tasking the already shaky economy,” he averred.

Bishop Seyenkulo called on all other Churches of the Body of Christ to unite and seek God’s forgiveness and healing for Liberia from its bondages of low life expectancy, many strange illnesses, economic downturn, bloodshed, devastations, among others.

He said poverty has caused Liberia to be extremely polarized and also called on all families who have lost their loved ones to take solace in God, as He alone will judge the evildoers and reward them according to their deeds.

Meanwhile, Patrick Sudue, Inspector General of Police, recently said that there are no ritualistic killings in the country as claimed and propagated on social media by some people. His men and women in uniform have arrested a few persons in recent days for posting images of dead bodies and attributing them to Liberia.

Source: ‘We Will Never Develop Under Clouds of Fear’ 

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

Liberia: Rev. Samuel Reeves urges fellow clergymen to take the lead and speak out against ritualistic killings

A remarkable sermon of Reverend Samuel Reeves in Monrovia, Liberia. “Today, we live in a world of words. Words on TV, words on the radio, spoken words, and words printed in the Newspaper, works in books, on the computers and words on the internet.(…)’ He continued saying that churches should take the lead in raising their voices against ritualistic killings and other evils in society. Remarkably, he noted that “(…) many Liberians are in the right place but in the wrong conditions (…)”. Unquote. (webmaster FVDK).

Liberia: Rev. Samuel Reeves urges fellow clergymen to “Take Lead and Speak Out” against evils in society such as ritualistic killings

Published: October 6, 2021
By: Obediah Johnson – Front Page Africa, Liberia

MONROVIA – The President of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC), Rev. Dr. Samuel B. Reeves, has underscored the need for churches in Liberia to take the lead and speak out against challenges, ritualistic killings and other forms of insecurities that have engulfed the nation.

Dr. Reeves is also the Senior Pastor of the historic Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia. Located on Broad and Center Streets in Monrovia, the Providence Baptist Church is considered as the cornerstone of Liberia. It is where Liberia’s Declaration of Independence was signed on July 26, 1847.

Dr. Reeves said Liberians, especially members of his Congregation should be mindful of whose voice they listen to during these critical times in the history of the country.

He made these assertions when he delivered his regular Sunday sermon at his church edifice on Broad Street in Monrovia.

He spoke on the Theme: Be Careful Whose Voice You Listen To, with text taken from the book of Mark 1:21-28.

“Church be careful whose voice you are listening to. Today, we live in a world of words. Words on TV, words on the radio, spoken words, and words printed in the Newspaper, works in books, on the computers and words on the internet. Whose voice are you listening to? There are all kinds of voices out there clamoring for our attention”.

Rev. Reeves noted that in the midst of numerous challenges, the times in Liberia are “fearful and dangerous”.

“Listen church, when we come face to face with the challenges in these fearful and dangerous times, don’t listen to voices like this man that want to tear down instead of build-up, condemn instead of commend. Don’t listen to voices like his man that are only concern about keep things the ways they are and keeping you in your broken condition”.

“In times like these the Church must lead with the power and in the power of God and allow the word of God through Jesus to speak healing and bring change to our situations and conditions of impurity, idolatry, jealousy, anger, dissensions, envy, drunkenness, drug-abuse, insecurity, greed and corruption”.

He stated that though demons remain visible in the Liberian society, citizens should be cognizant of the fact that the word of God is always a “treat to ignorance, poverty and disease, a treat to corruption, to injustice, to poor leadership, to lies, and deceptions, laziness and greed”.

He noted that the demons in Liberia are afraid because Jesus is a threat to their powers and their authorities.

Rev. Reeves maintained that Jesus,  the word of God remain “a threat to corruption that leads to poverty, and lies that lead to fear, timidity, insecurity and uncertainty whether in our homes, in the church or in the government”. 

Leave us

He added that Liberians should also bear in mind that  there are those in their respective homes, communities, in the nation and government, who are saying “just leave us alone-we are satisfying with the corruption, inadequacies, and the insecurities that is destroying our nation; leave us along they say all is well and rosy”.

He noted that though many Liberians are in the right place but in the wrong conditions, they should bear in mind that the word of God, through the Voice of God wants to destroy the insecurities that have created the conditions in the nation, including the insecurities created by ritualistic killing, corruption.

Source: Liberia: Rev. Dr. Samuel Reeves Urges Fellow Clergymen to “Take Lead and Speak Out” against Evils in Society

Liberia: Citizens protest against ritual murders – release on bail of arrested ANC supporter who posted Facebook message on ritual killings

The unrest in Liberia continues and even gets to a higher, organized, level. On Tuesday, October 5, a civil society organization, Citizens United Against Ritual Killing (CURK), staged a peaceful protest against the alleged wave of ritual murders across the country. The Liberian National Police continues to downplay the allegations though it admitted that at least one ritual murder had taken place.

A worrying trend is the arrest of a Facebook user, Jethro Harris, who was accused of ‘inciting disorder and chaos’ because of a post about an alleged ritual murder. Harris’ arrest comes in the aftermath of accusations by government officials that members of opposition parties are responsible for spreading ‘fake news’.

Ritual murders, which are a violation of the right to live and to live without fear, have thus become another threat: an attack on the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression. Hence the arrest of Jethro Harris, a supporter of the Alternative National Congress – one of a coalition of four political parties opposing the ruling CDC, Congress for Democratic Change – has added another dimension to the politicization of the phenomenon of ritual murders in Liberia:  a battlefield between ruling and opposition political parties (webmaster FVDK).

Citizens protest against mysterious death

Published: October 6, 2021
By: Lincoln G. Peters – The New Dawn, Liberia

Several residents of Monrovia under the banner Citizens United Against Ritualistic Killing (CURK) staged a peaceful protest Tuesday 5 October 2021 against the alarming wave of alleged ritualistic killings across the country.

According to the group, the current increase in the wave of ritualistic killings across the country is alarming, adding that there is no safety and protection for citizens in the country.

The Liberian National Police says reports of increase ritualistic killings here are fake news being propagated by the opposition.

But speaking in an interview with journalists at the protest scene in Bassa Community in Monrovia, the group’s spokesperson and chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) Solidarity Brigade Byron Brown said their peaceful protest was meant to call the attention of the world to the alarming wave of alleged ritualistic killings across the country.

“The Government of President [George Manneh] Weah continues to show little or no interest in finding [a] solution to the problem and fear that is in citizens,” Byron Brown alleged.

Contrary to Brown’s allegation, the Liberian Government is blaming members of the opposition parties here for spreading fake news surrounding reports of ritualistic killings in the country.

Reports of killing for the past weeks have taken the country by storm, followed by social media posts that petrified the public with gruesome photos and testimonies of killings taking place in the country.

But in their reaction, the Liberian authorities say two ladies and a man launched podcasts on Facebook in which they explained they were seized from different locations, taken to woods, and escaped death at the hands of their captors.

But Byron insisted that since the ascendancy of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to the leadership of the country, there have been uncontrollable waves of alleged mysterious disappearances, kidnapping, and ritualistic deaths in the country.

“These things have [a] negative impact on the country and economy. This action today is void of politics and we are doing this to save our country and open it up to international investment and economic progress,” Brown claimed.

He denounced as disingenuous to the country and its people, Liberia National Police (LNP Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Suede’s claim that there is only one ritualistic death in the country, alleging instead that are ten reported ritualistic deaths across the country.

“We are going to our Legislature, the United States Embassy near Monrovia and we will petition them to call their attention to what is happening in the country that [the] government continues to give deaf ears to,” Brown continued.

“We are living in total fear in our country. Our peace and security are not sure. We are standing up for what we believe will liberate our country and secure international investors’ confidence to help our economy grow,” he added.

Byron noted that peaceful protest is expected to last for a week until the Government of Liberia can respond to their plight and assure their security and protection in the country.

Source: Citizens protest against mysterious death

And:

Hundreds of Liberians protest alleged ritual murders

Archive photo / [FILES] Liberian policemen .(Photo by Zoom DOSSO / AFP)

Published: October 5, 2021
By: AFP – The Guardian, Nigeria

Hundreds of women protested in Liberia’s capital Monrovia on Tuesday against a wave of alleged ritual killings in the country, an AFP journalist saw.

Rumours of ritual murders have been spreading on social media for weeks in the West African nation, with reports of corpses found with body parts removed — ostensibly 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. (See below – the webmaster FVDK)

On Tuesday, hundreds of women gathered in front of Monrovia’s capitol building, which houses the country’s legislature, to protest the alleged slayings. 

The group also delivered a statement to legislators, seen by AFP, demanding that the government and police examine “the exponential rate of ritualistic killing”.

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 late last month, Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue announced that most of the recent alleged incidents are baseless, according to local media.

“These are paid agents,” he was reported as saying, referring to the people circulating the rumours.

Sudue nonetheless clarified that one ritual murder did occur recently in southeastern Liberia.

Last week, Liberian police arrested a member of the opposition party Alternative National Congress for posting misinformation about ritual killings online.

Liberia is a poor country still recovering after its brutal civil wars and the West African 2014-16 Ebola pandemic, which killed 4,800 people in the country.

Source: Hundreds of Liberians protest alleged ritual murders

And:

ANC Partisan jailed for ‘False Alarm’ — but the party says police tramples on his right to speech

“This is a misdemeanor and the police sent a whole container of people to Nimba County to arrest this young Defendant Jethro S. K. Harris for exercising his right to free speech,” Mr. Cummings said.  

Published: October 5, 2021
By:  Tina S. Mehnpaine – Daily Observer, Liberia

The Monrovia City Court on Monday, October 4,2021 jailed Jethro S. K. Harris, a stalwart of the Alternative Nation Congress (ANC) for allegedly spreading ‘False Public Alarm’ through his Facebook post.

On Monday, September 27, 2021, Defendant Jethro Harris posted a photo of the late Ms. Rolisa N. Gbeintor, a Liberian and alumnae of the Lenn Miller High School in Sinkor, Monrovia along with a graphic, claiming that it was the body of the late Gbeintor with parts extracted from her body.  

Harris was arrested last week in Nimba County while on a tour with fellow partisans and political leader, Alexander B. Cummings. According to the police charge sheet, defendant Harris was invited for questioning but did not show up. 

“Investigation established that Ms. Gbeintor got sick for a protracted period and subsequently died, that defendant Harris willingly, purposely and intentionally did the post so as to buttress falsehood already being circulated by some persons to be identified that the country is unsafe,” the LNP said. 

“In view of the foregoing, the investigation herewith charges Harris with the commission of the crime ‘False Public Alarms in Violation of chapter 17, section 17.4 of the revised penal law pending trial by the court of competent jurisdiction,” the police said. “In cognizance of article 12 (b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, defendant Jethro was arrested and subsequently informed of his Miranda rights.”

The police added that the post by defendant Harris does not have any Iota of truth and was intended to instigate citizens and persons residing in the country against the National Security apparatus, create economic hardships, and stall the movement of peaceful people. The police also said Harris’s post creates the impression that “investors closing down their business and leaving the country.”

The police believe that Article 15 (a) of the 1986 Constitution provides that every person shall have the right to freedom of expression but also reminds citizens they are fully responsible for abuse thereof. 

Of late, reported cases of ritual killings and survivors’ stories have been on the rise. In Caldwell, for instance, a lifeless body of a lady was discovered with body parts extracted, same as with, to create, the Soul Clinic community.  The victim this time around was a male. 

But for police authorities, pictures and videos about ritualistic incidents are not a representation of what is unfolding in the country. The police added that they were posted to instill fear in the citizens and to tarnish the image of the country and raise false national security alerts. Police then warned those involved in orchestrating a negative image about the country to desist or face the full weight of the law. The arrest of Jethro is reportedly the first by the police days after warning against the spread of fake news about an issue that has to do with a mysterious death.

For the ANC, Harris committed no crime and broke no law or violates the Penal code of Liberia. Rather, his Facebook post is a protected speech under the Liberian Constitution (Article 15) and under Constitutional Law. 

“Sections 12.33 and 17.4 of the Penal Code do not fit into Jethro’s post. He did not falsely post about an IMPENDING bombing or other crime as required by 17.4; neither did he report to any law enforcement official as required by 12.33.  He simply posted on his Facebook page,” argued ANC Secretary General Aloysius Toe.

Toe added Jethro’s post was a recreation of an alleged gruesome act of ritualistic killing, even if false and untrue, that has been making rounds on social media; and may have reasonably believed that what he came across on social media, coupled with massive public outcry about ritualistic killings, and thus recreated on his Facebook page, was intended only to draw public attention.

“He alleged that an act had already been committed, he didn’t say the act was impending (about to happen) as required by Section 17.4 of the Penal Code. The charges against him are   bogus and politically motivated,” the ANC said. “This is a CDC government clamp down on the opposition, using a rather professional police force to carry on partisan policing.”

The ANC Secretary General added Jethro was only targeted and falsely arrested and falsely imprisoned because of his association with the opposition community, and in particular, Alexander B. Cummings. 

“Police IG Patrick Sudue knows and should have reason to know that he’s proceeding wrongly and illegally by ordering the false arrest, and false imprisonment of Harris. There will be legal consequences. But Jethro Harris is spending 3 nights in a filthy police cell on bogus charges without investigation simply because of his root with an opposition political party. “

The ANC’s standard-bearer, Alexander B. Cummings, who has been making efforts to get Harris released, alleged that the entire case has been politicized.  “This is a misdemeanor and the police sent a whole container of people to Nimba County to arrest this young man for exercising his right to free speech,” Mr. Cummings said.

Cummings, accompanied by his lawyer, had gone to the Monrovia City Court to bail out defendant Harris, only to be informed that Harris had been taken to the Monrovia Central Prison at South Beach.

“Today we showed up with his bond to have him bailed. He was taken to South Beach prison.” ANC political leader said. “This is a minor misdemeanor. It’s a bailable offense, but it has been politicized. We politicize the rule of law and we wonder why we are not getting investors.” 

Mr. Cummings vowed to follow the court procedures. “We are a party of rule of law and we will follow the rules. If the judge doesn’t do the right thing, we will go to the Supreme court,” he said.

Recently there have been several mysterious killings in and around Monrovia, including two women and an elderly man. Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue, said people were posting these pictures to instill fear among citizens and present the country as though it is unsafe. 

“People are portraying the gloomy image of the country as though it is not safe,” he said.  LNP have earlier warned that people caught posting dead pictures on social media to cause fear among the citizenry without investigating will be arrested.

Source: ANC Partisan Jailed for ‘False Alarm’ — but the party says police tramples on his right to speech

and:

Opposition Alternative National Congress’ Youth Official lands in jail for ‘Inciting’ Facebook post

Published: October 6, 2021
By: Joyclyn Weah – Front Page Africa, Liberia

MONROVIA – A stalwart of the Youth League of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), Jethro Saylah Kangar Harris, has been jailed for allegedly circulating false content on social media.

Suspect Jethro Harris was forwarded to the Monrovia City Court on Monday for onward prosecution after being charged by the Liberia National Police (LNP) with the commission of the crime of false public alarms in violation of chapter 17, section 17.4 of the revised Penal Law of Liberia.

On Saturday, the police claimed that suspect Harris posted on his Facebook page, a picture of a young lady he identified as Rolisa N. Gbeintor, a Liberian and alumnae of the Len Miller High School in Sinkor, Monrovia. He placed a corpse that appeared to have gone under post mortem examinations alongside the picture, claiming it was Rolisa’s body and that she has been killed and body parts extracted for ritualistic purposes.

On his Facebook page, he reportedly wrote:

I’m in tears tonight.

It’s so painful how the young people of Liberia are dying mysteriously…

This is the late Rolisa N. Gbeintor, an alumnae of the Len Millar High School…

She was murdered and parts of her body were extracted.

His post immediately caught the attention of the LNP and they launched an investigation to establish its veracity.

Harris was on invited by the LNP for questioning but did not turn out; stating that he was in Ganta, Nimba County. A team of LNP officers headed by assistant commissioner Alphonso A. Paypay, headed to Nimba County on Friday, October 1, and arrested Suspect Harris for “spreading false information to the Liberian public and the world at-large; thus committing the crime false public alarm.”

The police charge sheet claimed that Harris’ post which is established to be unfounded, is also intended to create economic hardship and the likelihood of investors closing down their businesses and leaving the country.

The post, the police maintained, is intended to stall movement of peaceful residents. The document noted that the suspect ‘willingly, purposely and intentionally’ did the Facebook post so as to buttress falsehood already being circulated by some unidentified people that the country is unsafe.

The Police wrote in their charge sheet that the post, which do not have any iota of truth is also intended to put some of citizens and persons residing within Liberia’s borders against the national security apparatus, scare away investors and some people intended to travel to Liberia.

The ANC has condemned the Police action against its partisan, and said it is in gross violation of his constitutional rights.

Article 15 (A) of the Constitution of Liberia provides that every person shall have the right to freedom of expression. However, it adds that they should be held responsible for the abuse of such freedom.

The ANC political leader, Mr. Alexandra Cummings, swam by party executives and supporters, stormed the courtyard but were prevented from securing the release of the suspect, even though the crime he is charged with, is a billable offense.

Speaking to reporters minutes after suspect Harris was taken to the South Beach by heavily guarded armed police officers, Mr. Cummings said that a bond to have their partisan release was made available, but the judge insisted on taking the defendant to jailed.

Cummings termed as unfortunate and unfair, the government’s action against his partisan, noting that government is not being helpful and cooperative by punishing suspect Harris for a social media post.

He further indicated that the judiciary should not be politicized.

“We got to give the judges the freedom to interpret the laws. This is not how we want to run our Judiciary and not how we want to run the country and for the manner of misdemeanor this whole thing is being politicized.” According to him, ANC is an opposition party of law, and as such they will follow the law and ensure that Harris is released.

Source: Opposition Alternative National Congress’ Youth Official Lands in Jail for ‘Inciting’ Facebook Post

And:

Liberia: Alternative National Congress’ Youth released on bail

Published: October 7, 2021
By: Willie N. Tokpah – Front Page Africa, Liberia

Monrovia – The Assistant Secretary General of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), jailed at the Monrovia Central Prison over alleged false public alarm and false statement, was freed on bail on Wednesday amid intense pressure from his party and the campus-based Vanguard Students Unification Party.

Jethro Harris, who had spent four days in prison over a Facebook post in which he alarmed about the ritualistic killing of his ‘friend’, was charged in violation of section 17.4 of the revised Panel Code of Liberia.

His lawyers Atty. Lafayette Gould, Atty. Aloysius Toe and Cllr. Findley Karngar call the charges frivolous. The three lawyers had filed Summary Proceedings against Magistrate Joma Jallah for reportedly refusing to approve their client’s appearance bond after Circuit Judge Roosevelt Willie had heard the petition and ordered Magistrate Jallah to approve the bond in keeping with law. 

However,  more than 24 hours after said mandate, the magistrate later released the defendant to his lawyers Wednesday on bail.

Following his release, Cllr. Toe told journalists that Harris was imprisoned for standing against injustice, adding that said his client is now a free man and will remain free.

However, he noted that the legal battle surrounding Harris’s allegation is expected to take place Friday, noting that no amount it intimidation will make those who are speaking against ills in the country keep silent.

“No no amount of witch-hunt, attempt and decision and no amount of scare tactic will make us to keep silent, neither will the ANC be scare to stand up for a cause,” Cllr. Toe says.

He described the action of Defendant Harris as a “passive resistance”, which he believes is in the right direction.“If any of you will have a sad experience of going to jail because you believe in what is right, and on the account you are arrested, tell other people to stand up for the same thing and let them be arrested, Cllr. Toe says.

Source: Liberia: Alternative National Congress’ Youth Released on Bail

Liberia: contradicting statements on the occurrence of ritual killings; man arrested for the selling of human parts

In Liberia, not only impunity reigns – allowing ritual murderers as well as war criminals to walk free. These days also confusion reigns. What is true of the allegations that there’s a surge in ritual murders? Or is it a conspiracy of political opponents who want to discredit the Weah Administration, already heavily criticized for failing to deliver after the election promises which made tens of thousands of young Liberians to vote for the soccer legend?

Whereas the police downplays the present panic which make Liberians staying home after sunset, it also informed the public that a man was arrested with human parts in his possession, apparently for sale. There is only one explanation for this gruesome discovery: there is a market for human parts in Liberia where some people consider human organs and other human parts essential ingredients of ‘juju’. Every Liberian, Sierra Leonean, Gambian, Ghanian, Nigerian knows what ‘juju’ means.

‘Juju’ is being used either to protect, enrich or empower a person, or to put a magic spell on a known or unknown adversary. Belief in it is widespread in West Africa where ignorance and lack of education are the prime causes of the belief in superstition, facilitated by a weak rule of law and impunity resulting from protection by high-placed people. See also my October 1 post (webmaster FVDK).

Alleged Ritualistic Killings in Liberia: False Alarms Or Poor Investigative Skills?

Published: October 4, 2021
By: Obediah Johnson – Front Page Africa, Liberia 

MONROVIA — It appears that the combat against alleged acts of ritualistic killings and kidnapping which have widely been widely reported in Monrovia and other parts adjacent in recent times are far from being thoroughly investigated, culprits arrested and prosecuted, as evidenced by the Minister of Justice Counselor Frank Musa Dean accusing those raising alarms of reportedly failing to aid investigations.

Liberians and other foreign residents in the country continue to wake up to news of kidnapping and the gruesome murders of citizens, especially females in few communities in Montserrado County on a regular basis.

Parts are extracted from the remains of the victims by the unknown perpetrators for ritualistic purposes.

The current situation has instilled fears in Liberians and foreign residents, compelling them to return from their various working and selling places earlier than before.

It has also raised questions and doubts over the ability of state security actions to provide security to Liberians and other foreign residents.

Not showing up

But responding to an inquiry from FrontPage Africa over the week end, Cllr. Dean pointed out that most of those claiming to have been kidnapped have not been coming forth to help the police with investigations.

He made specific reference to one Solomon, who claimed to have been allegedly kidnapped from Caldwell and taken to Gbartala, Bong County.

Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue recently informed the public that the information provided to the police by Solomon was false and misleading.

Phone records which were subpoenaed by the police show that the alleged victim never left Montserrado County all during his alleged kidnapping tale.

According to the records quoted by the IG, Solomon was in Clara Town, Vai Town, New Kru Town, among other places, throughout during his alleged ordeal.

Opposing Pastor’s request

Cllr. Dean pointed out that since raising the false alarm, Solomon has not shown up despite efforts applied by state investigators to request his Pastor, who was not named, to convince him to do so.

“This guy has refused to come forward to aid the police investigation. We summoned his call log. On the day he should have been in the custody of kidnappers in Gbatala, the call log placed him in Dixville and New Kru Town. We contacted his Pastor to bring him in. He is not cooperating with his Pastor”.

Last week, the Liberia National Police arrested a stalwart of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Jethro Saylah Kangar Harris, for allegedly spreading misinformation of ritualistic killing on Facebook.

FrontPageAfrica gathered that Kangar had reportedly posted a picture of a young girl alongside a picture of an open corpse on an autopsy table.

“I’m in tears tonight. It’s so painful how the young people of Liberia are dying mysteriously. This is the late Rolisa N. Gbeintor, alumnae of the Lenn Millar High School. She was murdered and parts of her body were extracted. She had dreams; she had a great future ahead of her but there she lies dead without understanding how”, Harris posted.

Karnga was arrested in Ganta, Nimba County while on a tour with the ANC’s standard bearer, Alexander B. Cummings. He has spent days behind bars.

Family not identified

But Cllr. Dean latest response to the reported death of Rolisa appears like no formal complaint has been made by the family to the LNP.

“We are searching for the parents and family members of Rolisa Gbeintor, who was supposed to have been gruesomely killed”, Cllr. Dean stated.

Another kidnapping story

In another video that went viral on the social media last week, a young lady claimed that she was allegedly kidnapped by a bike rider and another passenger while on her way Red Light to buy her goods.

According to the unidentified lady, a white handkerchief was used by the passenger who sat at her back and she was taken around the Coca Cola Factory Community in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

She claimed that while her face was tied with a black cloth, she was placed in a black jeep and taken to an unknown destination.

“I saw myself in an unfinished building when they took the cloth from my face and I saw five other women that they kidnapped too. They started to carry them one, one in the slaughter room. I could only hear ‘my people your come, God come for me…they are talking this other parts from on me oh. I was the fifth person and when they carried me in the room, I saw the other table and they had different, different instruments for human parts. They put me on the big table and tore my blouse on me, took off the trouble but my woman sickness (menstruation) was on me”.

“They said but how your bought this chicken here; your know the chicken looking like this and we can’t use it for sacrifice so your put the chicken back outside. That’s how they took me down from the table and carry me back in the room. The other woman too had the same woman sickness on her. So, they said they can’t make sacrifice with us so, let just keep them here and in the night we can go dump them by the wayside. They tied our faces from four in the evening Tuesday with the same black cloth and drove us on the road back in the night. We only saw ourselves in front Coca Cola factory”, the unidentified lady stated.

The lady added that she later decided to take the complaint to Zone 5 in the same area, but since then, she has not been called for further questioning.

Lady escaping?

But according to Cllr. Dean, the lady in question has not shown up for further investigations since she provided her initial statement at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on the Capitol Bye-Pass in Monrovia.

He further doubted the possibility of a slaughterhouse being in the densely populated suburb of Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

“From the day this girl came to the Police Headquarters and provided her initial Statement and said she was going to the doctor to return, she has gone underground. Even her family cannot locate her. Where are the families of the slaughtered people? A human slaughter house in Paynesville, such a populated area?”

Will prosecute PLP suspended SG

Meanwhile, Cllr. Dean has pointed out that the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice will formally charge and prosecute the suspended acting Secretary General of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP) for illegally possessing and discharging firearm.

Executive members of the Organizing Committee of the PLP suspended the acting Secretary General of the party, Mr. David Woods Beyan, for lying that he was shot by unknown armed robbers, after the police preliminary investigation proved otherwise.

It can be recalled that Mr. Beyan, who is also a founding member of the PLP, claimed that around 3AM on Friday, September 24, 2021, he was shot by unknown armed men for unspecified reasons while on his way home from Kakata, Margibi County where he had reportedly gone on a party function and to attend a family meeting

He told FrontPage Africa via telephone that he noticed two motorbikes carrying four persons tailing him from Mount Barclay and while In the middle of the Parker Paint road, one of the riders reportedly crossed in front his vehicle with speed.

Mr. Beyan claimed that he later got down from his vehicle, in an attempt to compel the bike rider to remove his bike. He was later overpowered by the men and shot on his left thigh.

“They had mask on their faces and I couldn’t recognize any of them. After one of them shot me, they got on the motorbikes and escaped. Right now, I am still feeling pain in my thigh” he told FrontPage Africa via telephone from his hospital bed.

But Cllr. Dean pointed out that the victim shot himself.

His clarification corroborates with information provided by IG Sudue when he appeared on State radio on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.

Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue disclosed that Mr. Beyan told nurses assigned at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center where he had gone for treatment that he mistakenly shot himself in the leg, and the firearm used has been retrieved.

 “This guy shot himself. He carried a weapon he did not know how to operate. We will prosecute him for illegal possession and discharge of firearm” Cllr. Dean stated.

Ghost town

The growing wave of reported kidnapping and ritualistic killings across Monrovia and other parts of the country continue to instill fears in citizens and foreign residents

In Monrovia and other parts adjacent, the streets appear like a “ghost town” and are partially empty as a result of the situation.

Marketers, workers and others are often seen in a hurry during the early evening hours, abroading commercial or private vehicles, tricycles and motorbikes to reach to their respective homes or destinations in a timely manner.

Owners of various businesses, including shops, stores, and supermarkets are constrained to shutdown far sooner than their usual closing times due to the growing wave of insecurity in the post-conflict nation.

It remains unclear whether or not fears of the growing wave of insecurity in Liberia will continue to grapple economic activities or the free movement of citizens and others as state security actors continues to allow those raising alarms to cajole them by giving or falsifying stories that would allow them to escape from investigations.

State actors’ failure

The failure of state security actors, particularly investigators of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to implore additional skills to unearth the truth behind some of these reported kidnapping and ritualistic killings or intensify efforts to hunt and bring forth for investigations those involved or accused remain a major problem confronting the security sector.

On the other hand, the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministries of Justice and Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism has not been able to swiftly and adequately respond to videos or photos on kidnapping and ritualistic killings before it goes viral on the social media by critics of the regime, who normally share those videos or photos to satisfy their political or ulterior motives.

This continues to hamper and paint the image, particularly the security condition of Liberia bad to the outside world, especially foreign investors contemplating on coming into the country to do businesses.

Source: Alleged Ritualistic Killings in Liberia: False Alarms Or Poor Investigative Skills?

And:

Police probe man who confessed to ritualistic activities

Published: October 4, 2021
By: Lincoln G. Peters – The New Dawn, Edited by Winston W. Parley

The Liberia National Police (LNP) says it has arrested and is investigating a 22 – year -old man for his alleged confession of being involved in the kidnapping and selling of human parts across the country.

Suspect Gbala Samula was arrested Saturday, 2 October 2021 in VOA Community, Brewerville, Montserrado County, by the Zone 6 police detachment for allegedly confessing that he has negotiated to sell human parts to a funeral home based in the VOA Community around the beachside.

The accused was not arrested with human parts, but trading in human parts could be considered ritualistic activity.

Confirming the arrest and investigation of suspect Samula, Police Spokesman Moses Carter told our reporter in a telephone conversation Sunday, 3 October that police are having the suspect in their custody for investigation over his alleged role in the kidnap and selling of human parts.

According to Carter, the suspect allegedly told the police that he was convinced by his friend to join him in the kidnapping of human beings and selling of human parts across the country, on grounds that it has money. Carter said the suspect did not name the friend, neither did he state where the friend was residing.

The police spokesman explained further that the funeral home that the suspect, Samula referenced has denied his allegations, saying it is in no business of buying human parts.

Carter refused to disclose the name of the funeral home but pointed out that police are investigating the suspect and if he fails to provide his colleagues and other information, he will be jailed for spreading falsehood and causing panic in the country.

But speaking in a live interview with local broadcaster Voice of Liberia (VOL) Saturday, 2 October 2021 at the Zone 6 police detachment in Brewerville, suspect Samula said he came from Sawelor Town in Grand Cape Mouth County and to live with his big brother in Brewerville, VOA Community.

Suspect Samula narrated that he was engaged by a guy who had proposed that they should sell human beings to get money.

Source: Police probe man who confessed to ritualistic activities

And:

As Police Vows To Arrest Alarming Posters On Social Media, Man Arrested For Alleged Ritualistic Activities

Published: October 4, 2021
By: Cholo Brooks – GNN, Liberia

Barely a week now since the leadership of the Liberia National Police (LNP) vowed to bring to book of those who post on social media of mysterious killings and disappearances, latest report being highlighted in the media over the weekend has indicated that the police has arrested and is investigating a 22 – year -old man for his alleged confession of being involved in the kidnapping and selling of human parts across the country.

Suspect Gbala Samula was arrested Saturday, 2 October 2021 in VOA Community, Brewerville, Montserrado County, by the Zone 6 police detachment for allegedly confessing that he has negotiated to sell human parts to a funeral home based in the VOA Community around the beachside.

The accused was not arrested with human parts, but trading in human parts could be considered ritualistic activity.

Confirming the arrest and investigation of suspect Samula, Police Spokesman Moses Carter told our reporter in a telephone conversation Sunday, 3 October that police are having the suspect in their custody for investigation over his alleged role in the kidnap and selling of human parts.

According to Carter, the suspect allegedly told the police that he was convinced by his friend to join him in the kidnapping of human beings and selling of human parts across the country, on grounds that it has money. Carter said the suspect did not name the friend, neither did he state where the friend was residing.

The police spokesman explained further that the funeral home that the suspect, Samula referenced has denied his allegations, saying it is in no business of buying human parts.

Carter refused to disclose the name of the funeral home but pointed out that police are investigating the suspect and if he fails to provide his colleagues and other information, he will be jailed for spreading falsehood and causing panic in the country.

But speaking in a live interview with local broadcaster Voice of Liberia (VOL) Saturday, 2 October 2021 at the Zone 6 police detachment in Brewerville, suspect Samula said he came from Sawelor Town in Grand Cape Mouth County and to live with his big brother in Brewerville, VOA Community.

Suspect Samula narrated that he was engaged by a guy who had proposed that they should sell human beings to get money.

In a related development, the Liberia National Police says it has begun investigating social media false alarm posters, noting that it  has been drawn to the constant habit of some unscrupulous citizens who are bent on posting false alarm information intended to instill fear in citizens and residents of the country.

These false alarm posters are posting horrible photos and videos of fake incidents which are solely intended to portray the country as unsafe and instill fear in the citizenry of the country.

Hence, LNP investigators with immediate effect have been mandated by the Inspector General of Police, Hon. Patrick Sudue to ensure that the social media is monitored regularly and that those who post information aimed at creating fear must be invited for questioning and subsequent prosecution if probable cause is established.

The LNP admonishes administrators of various social media chatrooms to scrutinize information that is placed in their various chatrooms and report those who are in the constant habit of posting said information.

The LNP will not hesitate to ensure that administrators of chatrooms who do not exercise due diligence in the contents that are posted on their various platforms are invited for questioning.

To this end, the LNP envisages that a proper scrutiny of various information placed in chatrooms by administrators will curtail the barrage of inciteful and fearful photos and videos that are circulating on social media.

Together, we can help to make Liberia a better and peaceful nation for all.  It press release issued by H. Moses Carter, Sr., Head Press and Public Affairs  Liberia National Police (U-122)  Tel: 0770800122, noted

Source: As Police Vows To Arrest Alarming Posters On Social Media, Man Arrested For Alleged Ritualistic Activities