Another sad story about the ritual killing of a 9-year old boy for ‘money rituals’ in Nigeria, this time in Zamfara State, in the islamic north of Africa’s most populated country. As I have recounted several times before, ritual murders occur in virtually every state in Nigeria and I fear that the cases which become known are just the tip of an iceberg.
Fortunately the police has reacted swiftly and arrested a number of suspects. Let’s pray that the story doesn’t fizzle out and that after a fair trial justice will be done. But there’s more work to do: the prevention of future ritual murders by eradicating the belief in ‘juju’ (webmaster FVDK).
Six suspected ritualists nabbed over killing of 9-year-old boy In Zamfara State
Zamfara State police command has arrested six people in connection with the killing of a nine-year-old boy for ritual purpose in Gusau, Caliphate Trust has learnt.
The police had launched a manhunt for the culprits after a tip-off that the boy was seen with one of them on the day he was abducted and killed.
The suspects, upon interrogation by the police, revealed that they were assigned to kill the boy and extract parts of his body by an individual in Tudun Wada area of Gusau metropolis.
One of them was reported to have said they had earlier killed two persons for ritual. He said he had been experiencing nightmares over the killing as the slain boy kept appearing to him in his dream smiling.
The ring leader of the group responsible for the ritual killing was later apprehended and confessed to security operatives that he was the brain behind the killing of the boy.
Sources said the suspects had named one person in the state’s business community but that could not be independently verified.
The remains of the boy, identified Ahmad Aliyu Ijaba, was found in an uncompleted building in Barakallahu area of Gusau metropolis in December.
The owner of the building spotted the decomposing body of the little boy when he went to continue his construction work and immediately alerted the police.
Ahmad went missing shortly after he came back from Islamiyya School in Gadar Baga area of the city.
The state police command’s spokesman, SP Muhammad Shehu, said investigation is ongoing and that he would not talk further about the matter.
Looking behind (at 2021) and forward: the new year 2022, the founder and leader of the Cornerstone Bible Church International sited at Ayiga in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Apostle Godbless Boateng, urged the Ghanaian authorities to act swiftly in view of the rising cases of ritual murders in recent times. He was speaking to the reporter of ‘Modern Ghana’ in an interview on Sunday, January 2.
For more details and background, the interested reader is advised to listen to the interview, below (webmaster FVDK).
Enter 2022 with change of mindset — Apostle Godbless Boateng to Ghanaians
Published: January 10, 2022 By: King Amoah – Modern Ghana
Founder and leader of the Cornerstone Bible Church International sited at Ayiga in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, His Eminence Apostle Godbless Boateng has asked Ghanaians to enter 2022 with a change of mindset.
Speaking to this reporter in an exclusive interview on Sunday, January 2, 2022 after church service, Apostle Godbless Boateng said Ghanaians have to forget the past and forge ahead.
According to him, people who hold on to the past misses the treasures of the future.
He indicated that one cannot be expected to reap from what lies ahead while still living in the past.
The man of God noted that the country stands to develop if people change their mindset or attitude towards how they perceive things.
On the rising cases of armed robberies and ritual murders in recent times, he urged authorities to act fast to clamp down on such bad nuts in society.
According to him, drug abuse, armed robbery, ritual murder, drug peddling among other criminal acts is the order of the day.
His Eminence Apostle Godbless Boateng advises the youth to be law abiding and stay away from actions that will cause them their life and future.
An Ondo State Police public relation officer confirmed the death of Tunde Olayiwola, but did not give details of what led to his death.
Is this another example of jungle justice? Further investigation will have to learn what caused Olayiwola’s death but if there’s foul play the rule of law demands that those who are responsible for his unnatural death must account for their deeds. It’s a gross violation of a suspect’s legal and human rights to be maltreated or even killed while in police custody.
But will we ever hear the truth about what happened to Tunde Olayiwola? (webmaster FVDK).
Suspect with fresh human head dies in police custody
Published: December 26, 2021 By: Babatope Okeowo, Akure – The New Telegraph
A suspected ritualist, Tunde Olayiwola who was arrested by the Ondo State Police Command for unlawful possession of fresh human head has died in their custody, it was learnt yesterday.
Olayiwola, who was paraded alongside eight others suspects arrested for various criminal offences ranging from murder, kidnapping and cultism last week Thursday, died in the police clinic in Akure, the state capital.
Olayiwola, who claimed to be an herbalist of 53 years experience, said he bought the fresh human head from one of his customers for N60, 000 in order to use it for money making ritual.
He confessed that the head found in his possession was to be used to ensure he had a better life, saying he did not have any regrets for using a human head for ritual purposes.
He said if it was his son that was killed for money making ritual, he said that was his end and would do nothing about it.
He refused to give the name of his accomplices saying he wanted to be rich just as his counterparts.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Oyeyemi Oyediran, who paraded the suspect, said the Police received information that a self acclaimed cleric named Alfa Tunde Olayiwola, a suspected ritualist, was about to receive a consignment suspected to be a human head.
Oyediran said the Police immediately swung into action and the cleric was apprehended at Ajagbale Area of Oka, Ondo town. He added that a fresh human head was found in his custody.
But on Sunday, a police source, who did not want his name in print, said the cleric, who was apprehended at Oka, Ondo West Local Government, slumped at Special Anti-cultist Section of the state police command, located along FUTA road in Akure.
The Police Public Relation Officer, Funmilayo Odunlami confirmed the death of the suspect, but did not give details of what led to his death.
The article below illustrates well how ‘money rituals’ are being organized and performed in Nigeria. A 55-year-old man who wanted to become rich, ordered ‘a fresh human head’ which was ‘delivered’ to him at his home as if he had ordered something at Amazon.com
Of course, one wonders if this man is not insane. But jumping to that conclusion is, first of all, not my job – I prefer to leave that judgement to a judge. However, the whole situation demonstrates the evil which results from the belief in superstition in combination with greed and moral decay. Hail to the Ondo police to have apprehended this man who will have to account for his deeds (read: misdeeds)! (webmaster FVDK).
55-year-old man arrested with human head in Ondo State
Men of the Ondo State Police Command have arrested a 55-year old man, Tunde Olayiwola, who was allegedly caught with a fresh human head meant for money ritual in Ondo, headquarters of Ondo West Local Government Area of the state.
Speaking during the parade, on Thursday, the State Commissioner of Police, Oyeyemi Oyediran, said the suspect was arrested by men of the state police command after an intelligence report that the suspect was about to receive a consignment.
He said the suspect was apprehended with the fresh head delivered to him and confessed that the head was meant to be used by him to ensure a better life.
He said: “On the 23rd of December, 2021, at about 9 am, the police received information that a self-acclaimed cleric named Alfa Tunde Olayiwola, a suspected ritualistic was about to receive a consignment suspected to be human head.
“The police immediately swung into action and the cleric was apprehended at Ajagbale area of Oka in Ondo town.
“A free head was found in his custody. He confessed that the head found in his possession was to be used to ensure he had a better life.”
Confessing to the crime, Olayiwola who said he hailed from Oshogbo said he ordered for the fresh head for money ritual at the sum of N60,000.
He said the consignment was delivered to him at home by a man he met at a social function on Thursday morning, saying he was about to commence the ritual when he was arrested.
He said, “I purposely ordered for the human head to make my life better and it was delivered to me. This is my first time but I want to do it to become rich and live a better life. The head was delivered to me today.”
The following article warrants three comments. First, accusing someone of ritualistic activities – worse, ritualistic murder – without sufficient grounds is a dangerous behavior. Not only it damages the reputation of the alleged killer but it may also easily lead to ‘jungle justice’: a mob taking the rule of law into their own hands, which is an inherent contradiction. In a country, where the rule of law exists, there is no place for mob justice.
Secondly, no accused person is guilty unless found guilty by an impartial judge in a public and transparent trial where the suspect has full access to his rights including the right of a proper defense and the assumption of being not guilty.
However, and I come to my last point, the allegations and rumor which have damaged the good reputation of Kgosietsile Tona Mooketsi, a businessman and politician, in Botswana (below) would not have existed without a base, and – before I am misunderstood – I will make myself clear what I mean by saying this.
Published: December 22, 2021 By: Portia Mlilo – The Voice, Botswana
Former UDC Councellor denies child kidnapping rumors
The former Umbrella for Democratic Change Councillor for Mosanta ward in Mochudi Kgosietsile Tona Mooketsi is a worried man who fears for his life.
Flustered and troubled, Mooketsi walked into Voice offices on Wednesday to tell his story in an effort to clear his name after allegations that he was a ritualist started circulating in the village.
The rumour is that the 48-year-old politician who also owns a butchery is suspected to have hired hitmen to kill a child for business muti. He has since reported to Mochudi police station commander seeking protection from possible backlash from the unfounded rumours.
Speaking to The Voice Mooketsi said it started as a rumour which spread like wildfire and eventually turned into an urban legend. He said at first he ignored it until last weekend when he heard allegations that he had hired two hitmen to kill a child and the victim escaped. He said this has damaged his reputation and put his family at risk of gullible villagers who might swallow the lie hook line and sinker and seek to revenge should any child go missing.
“My fear is that, should a child go missing I would be the first suspect. I do not want to take this lightly. Just recently a businessman was accused of ritual murder in Lentsweletau, the community was angry and some burnt his property. I do not want the same to happen to me hence I reported to the police for protection. I suspect this is politically motivated by Botswana Democratic Party activists. They are cowards! In 2019 they spread a rumour that I am a cattle rustler” said Mooketsi who lost parliamentary elections to a BDP candidate in 2019.
When reached for a comment, Mochudi Station Commander Superintendent Mokuba confirmed the report. He said they however did not open a case because the police do not investigate hearsays. Mokuba said should Mooketsi name a specific person who uttered those allegations, then he would have a case of defamation of character to launch.
Professor Ezionye Eboh of the Abia State University, Uturu, almost mentioned it casually, but he did mention it. He included ritual killings in the societal ills that urgently need to be attacked in order to restore societal values and public trust in the rule of law.
Professor Ezionye Eboh is a Professor of management at the Abia State University, Uturu, and was the immediate past Rector of Abia State Polytechnic Aba.
Increasingly, Nigerians speak out against the unabated scourge of ritual murders and related ritualistic activities in the country. Nigerians in virtually all states experience a daily threat emanating from the insecurity which results from the widespread belief in the power of ‘money rituals’. There is no place for such practices in the third millennium. After all, it’s 2021 (webmaster FVDK).
Abia State University professor seeks social reorientation to tackle societal ills including ritual killings
Published: December 21, 2021 By: Gordi Udeajah, Umuahia – The Guardian
Restoration of societal values through social reorientation will help tackle societal ills confronting the country, a Professor of Management at the Abia State University, Uturu, Ezionye Eboh has said.
Prof Ezionye who spoke while delivering the 61st inaugural lecture of the university, which had ‘Management: Everything, Everywhere’ as a theme, said that citizens would reap the gains and benefits of a well-managed country.
To him: “A developing country like Nigeria needs to judiciously manage its available resources, avoid all forms of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds and ensure an enabling environment for business operations”.
He lamented that over the years, greed, bribery, kick-backs among other vices, became the accepted way of the life of many citizens, which denied the country huge opportunities for healthy living and emerging as a major player in the global economy.
He insisted that negative societal values have given rise to all manner of crimes in society, ranging from armed robbery, drug trafficking, 419 activities, ritual killings, kidnapping and unbridled official corruption.
Worried that the greatest casualties are the youths, the don urged stakeholders to devise deliberate and concerted effort at re-ordering social values, saying not to do anything about the eroding social values today is to produce the worst corporate players soon.
While recommending a deliberate concerted effort at re-ordering social values, strengthening institutions and regulatory frameworks, he urged those entrusted with state responsibilities to do their work without fear, favour and partisanship.
Prof Eboh, who was the immediate past Rector of Abia State Polytechnic Aba, stated that to effect better management of the country, there is the need to initiate ‘Introduction to Management’ as a compulsory “General Studies Course (GST) “in all universities in the country to help prepare students for leadership in public and private sectors.
During the past year, many of my posts on this site focused on Nigeria and the alarming scale of ritual murders and related crimes in this country, contributing to a nation-wide security problem though, one knows, Nigeria’s security problem has many faces. See my February 2, 2021 post Security challenges in Nigeria.
On May 26, 2021 a Nigerian reporter, Ayodele Oluwafemi, of The Cable, a Nigerian news outlet, published a frightening analysis of mysterious disappearances and ritual murders during the past seven years. Already the list of missing and/or murdered persons is impressive.
“Although reported cases of ritual killings show that the incident happens in all regions of the country — media reports suggest that the south-west accounts for a large percent of the killings.”
Subsequently the author analyses some of the media reports published in the past few years on ritual killings in the south-west region of the country.
Warning: the graphic description of the ritual murders may upset certain readers (FVDK).
NB: The links included in the following Cable article are the original links and consequently, I am not responsible for their proper functioning (FVDK).
Overview: how south-west is becoming a hotbed of ritual killings in Nigeria
In recent times, reported cases of ritual killings have surged in many parts of the country. Law enforcement agencies have arrested many suspects of ritual killings — with gory pictures of human skulls and dismembered bodies.
Aside from the arrest and parade of suspected ritualists by the police, the Nigerian social media space has become a place where users mobilise members of the public to help find missing friends, colleagues, and family members.
As a result of this trend of missing persons, Enough is Enough (EiE), a civil society organisation, created a website alongside social media platformsto document cases of missing persons.
“Nigerians are reported missing daily. But most often, there are no records of these missing people, it is our mandate to document these records and make it easy to find those who are lost and missing,”an excerpt on the website’s front page says.
In most cases, some of these persons declared missing are found but many remain missing — with the hope of getting found by their families and friends dimming every passing day.
The trend of missing persons and the police’ arrest of suspected ritual killers suggest that many of those declared missing may have been victims of ritual killers.
Although reported cases of ritual killings show that the incident happens in all regions of the country — media reports suggest that the south-west accounts for a large percent of the killings.
TheCable analysed some of the media reports published in the past few years on ritual killings in the south-west region of the country.
The incident was said to have happened at Challenge bus stop, Mushin, after a vulcaniser sighted a suspected mad man discussing with someone in a tunnel at the bus stop.
On October 7, 2017, the Ogun police arrested six members of a syndicate allegedly involved in killing people for ritual purposes at different locations across the state.
The police said two members of the syndicate were caught with a bag containing fresh and dried human parts.
On August 20, 2018, the Lagos police arrested Taiwo Akinola, a suspected cult member, for allegedly attempting to kill Alice Akinola, his mother, for money rituals.
It was reported that the assailant attacked his mother by hitting a plank on her head at their residence at Raji Ajanaku street, Alaja road, Ayobo axis of Lagos after he had sent his nephew to go and buy a white handkerchief and a pack of cigarette.
It was reported that the suspects cut off the boy’s head for the purpose of selling it for N200,000.
The suspects have been remanded in prison.
On January 18, 2019, the Ekiti police busted a ritualists’ den in Odo, Ado Ekiti, and arrested two suspected ritualists, after a tip-off from members of the community on suspicion of ritual activities in the area.
On June 20, 2019, Dotun Ogunlade, a prophet popularly called ‘Arole Jesu’, was arrested in Igboora area of Oyo state for the alleged murder of Bosede Ogunlade, a 25-year-old housewife for ritual purposes.
The prophet was said to have lured Bosede, who hailed from Ilorin in Kwara state, with the promise of providing solution to her economic and marital problems.
On October 5, 2019, the Ogun police arrested two men, Emmanuel Aro, aged 25, and Anu Olofinju, aged 25, with a human skullalong Ijoun road, Eggua axis of the state.
The two suspects were said to have been sighted at a cemetery, digging the grave of the mother of one Amoo Bankole.
He said he was sent on the mission by a 50-year-old herbalist, whom he claimed was his master.
“Anytime I’m to go for the killing, baba (referring to the herbalist) will give me some charms and also teach me some incantation to be recited so that nobody will see me at the scene of the crime,” he said.
The suspects were arrested after a phone belonging to a missing person was tracked to one of the suspects. Corpses were also discovered in the suspects’ house — a development that made angry youths in the area raze the building.
On January 17, 2021, an elderly man, who according to residents, usually acts like a mentally unstable person, was arrested by the police for alleged kidnapping and ritual activities in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state.
The police discovered some items belonging to his victims like cheque books, wigs, and ATM cards in an abandoned uncompleted building adjacent to the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital, where the suspect lived.
When her corpse was discovered, the head and hands had been cut off.
RIGHT TO LIFE
Every Nigerian citizen is entitled to the right to life as enshrined in section 33 of the 1999 constitution (as amended). The right to life can only be denied if such a person is sentenced by the court when found guilty of a criminal offence.
Those who engage in ritual killings risk heavy punishment when convicted by the court as states have legal provisions to punish ritual killers and kidnappers.
Despite the legal provisions against ritual killings and other related capital offences, ritual killings still persist.
In Nigeria, ritualistic murders – locally known as ‘money rituals’ – are rampant even though not all victims of ritual murders are found. We will never know how many ritual murders are being committed in Africa’s most populated country.
Not infrequently, the police arrests suspects, which is certainly a step in the right direction. The rule of law must be upheld. Those who commit crimes must account for their deeds.
However, the rule of law is not served with the public parading of suspects. Even suspects have their rights in a country ruled by law. A suspect is only guilty after being tried by an independent court. Any form of punishment or humiliation of a suspect is a violation of his or her human rights. (webmaster FVDK).
Police parade 3 over alleged ritual killing of 9-year-old boy in Rivers
Three people, including a herbalist have been paraded by the Rivers State Police Command for alleged murder of a 9-year-old boy, identified as Destiny Peter.
The incident took place in Isiokpo community, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State last week.
The herbalist, Chijioka Ogbonnah was arrested following the confession of one of the suspects, Kenneth Sylvanus earlier arrested in connection with the murder of the little boy.
Sylvanus alleged that the herbalist had instructed him to bring the head of a nine-year-old for “something.”
Narrating the incident to journalists at the office of the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Sylvanus said “Chijioke Ogbondah influenced me, he told me to bring a human part for him that he wants to use it to do something and promised to give me some money. I think he hypnotized me. I took the boy to him and we killed him together”.
However, the herbalist denied involvement in the murder of the 9-year-old boy.
“I don’t know anything about the dead boy, God bears me witness. The only thing that connects Sylvanus and I was that I healed his brother of madness,” he claimed.
A third suspect in the matter, Chibuzor Amadi also denied involvement in the death of the little boy.
Addressing journalists on Friday, the Spokesman of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni said “investigation is still ongoing and I can assure you that at end of our investigation the matter will be charged to court.
“I appeal to the family of the deceased to remain calm. There will be justice at the end of the day for the little boy that was murdered gruesomely”.
Yesterday’s post included an article published in one of Liberia’s main newspapers, the Daily Observer, on the current wave of killings and disappearances in Liberia and the urgent need for the police te act. Today, I wish to draw your attention to an editorial in another, equally important newspaper, Front Page Africa, founded, owned and edited by the famous Rodney Sieh.
The title of the Op-Ed speaks for itself, ‘Enough enough’. The editorial starts with an impressive list of nearly 20 victims: murdered, disappeared, mutilated, the victims have in common a cruel and premature end of their life. The author, Milton Nathaniel Barnes, criticizes the inaction of the government, the absence of the rule of law, and the persistence of impunity.
Mr.Barnes’ cry is echoed by an article in the Daily Observer of today, November10: ‘Silence Is Not An Option, Mr. President!’
Already in mid-September, the Daily Observer had published an editorial entitled “The People of Liberia Are Under Siege – Break That Siege Now”, pointing out that rising insecurity had become an issue affecting all Liberians. The newspaper editor criticizes President George Weah and concludes with a pertinent statement: ‘(….) President Weah must break his silence, speak to the Liberian people and reassure them. For, anything short of this would suggest complicity. Silence is not an option Mr. President!‘
Will President Weah understand the message and act accordingly? We’ll see the coming days. I will report on subsequent developments (webmaster FVDK).
Liberia: Enough Is Enough – Too Many Murders Going With Impunity
Published: November 8, 2021 By: Milton Nathaniel Barnes – Front Page Africa, Liberia
Follows a list of recent victims:
Rev. Dr. William R. Tolbert III (November 1, 2021)
Maude Elliot (October 31, 2021)
John H. Tubman (September 22, 2021)
Unidentified Woman on 17th Street Beach (September 14, 2021)
Matthew J. Innis (August 2019)
Mordecai Nyemah (May 2021)
Melvin Earley (February 19, 2021)
Florence Massaquoi (February 2021)
Robert M. Blamo, Jr. (2021)
Bobby S. Gbeanquoi (2021)
Siafa G. Boimah (2021)
Albert Peters (October 2020)
Gifty Lama (October 2020)
Elijah Polumah (2020)
Abraham Tumay (2020)
George B. Fanbutu (2020)
Possibly, others unknown
WHAT’S GOING ON, MY PEOPLE? In every instance above, innocent lives have been taken; and, we are not sure what is being done about it. Liberians are dying mysteriously or being brutally murdered. Murderers are getting away with impunity. The usual lip service is paid; the family greaves; and, we carry on our lives disillusioned and frightened.
WHAT IS EXASPERATING about this is that Liberians are fearing for their lives in the midst of dire poverty and economic straits. They barely eke out a living encountering the huge cost of feeding themselves, educating their children, paying their rent, transporting themselves, only to be faced with the threat of someone murdering them in cold blood.
WHY ARE LIBERIANS continuing to face these nearly insurmountable challenges? Simply stated, this is due to the absence of Law and Order, which should, at the very least, investigate and inform the public so as to reassure them that authorities are responding with urgency. In this particular environment, when criminals believe that they can get away with heinous acts including brutal murders, they take that as a “license to kill” in view of the fact that there appear to be no consequences.
IN MY OPINION, this comes down to the matter of leadership. For quite a while now, Liberia has been led by politicians as opposed to authentic leaders. Basically, what I’m saying is that there is a distinct difference between a leader and a politician. An authentic and effective leader will address numerous challenges, be they economic (fiscal-monetary management, unemployment, etc.) or social (justice, education, healthcare etc.), using a wide array of tools. A leader knows how to corral the appropriate experts who can provide effective solutions to whatever challenges may arise within his or her sphere of influence.
A POLITICIAN, on the other hand, possesses a singular tool that is used to address any and every issue: politics. From the politician’s perspective, every problem, regardless of its nature, requires the solution of political rhetoric. The politician says whatever he or she believes will assuage the people. The goal is to persuade the people that things will be fine. Saying so, as we all know, does not make things so. Yet, the only tool of the politician is politics (i.e. the power of persuasion).
IN THE FACE OF MURDERS with impunity, leaders, at all levels of society, cannot afford to sit aside with indifference. We must stand up against these outrageous acts. We know that God is the ultimate judge; yet, every true religion teaches us that there are laws by which we must govern ourselves. In Liberia, our entire social fabric is at risk of disintegrating. No society, without a modicum of justice in the face of serious crime, can continue to function. It will inevitably tumble into utter chaos.
IN VIEW OF WHAT IS UNFOLDING, I am poised to ask the following questions:
Can we, as a country and people, take decisive steps to address these concerns?
Can we source international support to investigate these deaths many of which seem mysterious; if, and only if, we lack the resources and technical ability to do so?
Can the public be kept abreast as to the progress Government is making in investigating these deaths?
CAN WE ALSO ENDEAVOR to investigate the drivers of these mysterious killings?
Lest we forget, regardless of the circumstances of these deaths, whether politically motivated and or based on hatred, they do have ripple effects that transcend the actual victims. We may have to deal with how family members are affected and what interpretation others connected to the victims may conceive.
REMEMBER, the fruit of peace and freedom is priceless; and living in the spirit of fear breeds distress.
THIS IS A CLARION call to all people of Liberia to stand up and put an end to brutal murders and other serious crimes. Our first step is to unilaterally and publicly condemn these atrocious acts; and, then, demand that our justice system fully and completely investigates each unexplained death. Culprits must be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law.
IN TIMES OF TROUBLE, when good people sit aside supinely and do nothing, they are no better than the perpetrators of evil; for there is an adage that says, “we give acquiescence by our silence.”
Barely two months ago in its September 16, 2021 editorial headlined – “The People of Liberia Are Under Siege – Break That Siege Now”, the Daily Observer pointed out that rising insecurity had become an issue of grave concern to Liberians across the board. Note of the webmaster: This article by the Daily Observer’s Editorial Board has been included below – italics are mine, FVDK).
There have been persistent media reports of unexplained disappearances as in the case of the Blamo brothers who were reportedly hired by the proprietor of the St. Moses Funeral Parlors and extrajudicial killings including ritualistic killings carried out by individuals with alleged links to this government.
We recall the deaths last year of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) government auditors under mysterious circumstances. President Weah’s comments, suggesting that Gifty Lama and her colleague who were found dead in a vehicle on Broad Street were both lovers making out in their car, sent a wave of shock through the public.
Another LRA official, while driving along the SKD Boulevard, was attacked by machete wielding motorcyclists, causing him to run off the road and crash into a nearby house.
In yet another instance, the head of the Internal Audit Agency was killed after allegedly falling from the balcony of his house on SKD Boulevard.
President Weah’s response to that development was to urge citizens to install close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras around their homes. That was well before the spike in reports of ritualistic killings around the country, which has served to create a climate of fear and uncertainty amongst the citizenry.
It is safe to say that Police response to such reports of extrajudicial killings have been at best ineffectual. Police Inspector-General Patrick Sudue, responding to expressed public concerns about the rise in ritualistic killings, dismissed such reports, adding that Liberians are freely disposing of their dead in the streets because of their inability to give their relatives a decent burial.
He further declared that it was against such a backdrop that reports of bodies being discovered with parts missing were all fake news, intended to discredit the Weah administration.
But as events have shown, the fears of the people appear justified, given the spate of recent brutal murders of John Hilary Tubman, son of the late President William V.S. Tubman; William Richard Tolbert III, son of the late President William Richard Tolbert, Jr; and former immigration officer, Maude Elliot, in their respective homes.
Those tragic events, all unfolding within a very short period, have again raised public concerns about what they see as no end to the growing wave of insecurity under this government.
Not a single perpetrator has been apprehended in all of the cases cited earlier. This is giving rise to a heightened sense of insecurity. After dark, the streets of Monrovia become virtually deserted.
By 10pm latest, all stores, shops and supermarkets are shut and business comes to a grinding halt, except for a few night clubs which remain open until midnight.
Only recently, in broad daylight, a group of armed thugs invaded a restaurant and bar located on 19th Street near the beach, shaking down bartenders and customers alike, taking away their valuables and money.
To the best of public knowledge, no suspects have, as yet, been apprehended by the Police. The Police, as is well known, is hamstrung in the effective discharge of its duties and responsibilities by the critical lack of logistics including communications.
However, concerns about corruption remain an abiding concern. Salaries are low, discipline poor, and effective leadership is lacking. Under the leadership of current Police Inspector-General Patrick Sudue, public confidence in the Police has waned significantly to the point where the Police is now being seen as partisan.
This negative public impression of the Police persists despite pronouncements by a local civil society group, National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE) declaring that public confidence in the Police is increasing.
Given the current outlook, it appears that the restoration of public confidence in the Police is still a long way off. The disconnect between the Police and the public appears to be widening instead.
Official government support to the Police rather than being directed at countering public dissent and clamping down on freedom of speech and assembly should instead be increased to aid its effectiveness and ability to provide protection to the people of Liberia.
This newspaper once again reminds President Weah that there is a climate of fear being created by such gruesome and mysterious killings as well as unexplained disappearances. The Daily Observer has consistently reminded this government that the creation of a climate of fear is in no one’s interest.
This is because of the recognized fact that a climate of fear also induces feelings of hate and ill-will towards the government. Such feelings can be suppressed but only for a time. They simmer and without warning can explode like a volcano with dastardly implications for social cohesion, national stability and security.
Accordingly, it behooves all — the public and government alike — to work in tandem to curb the rise in violent crime and politically motivated murders such as ritualistic killings.
Above all, it bespeaks the urgent need to end the culture of impunity. And lest we forget, the TRC report provides a proper starting point — that is implementation of its recommendations, especially those recommendations on criminal accountability.
Quite clearly, the rule of law can never thrive in a situation where mass murders and war criminals parade the corridors of power lording over the victims of their crimes.
Equally so, can it be said that unscrupulous individuals, driven by greed and feeling emboldened by the fact that warlords have since enjoyed impunity, could also attempt to follow their example.
As leader, President Weah should ensure that matters concerning the safety, security and wellbeing of the Liberian people be treated with foremost and not benign concern.
This means President Weah must break his silence, speak to the Liberian people and reassure them. For, anything short of this would suggest complicity. Silence is not an option Mr. President!
Rising insecurity is/has become an issue of grave concern to Liberians across the board. Report of a rise in ritual killings, unexplained disappearances, extrajudicial killings carried out by individuals with alleged links to this government have all been major topics of concern on virtually all local radio talk-shows recently.
Barely a week ago, a driver of the National Transit Authority (NTA) assigned to ferry to and from the Roberts International Airport (RIA) supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) who turned out to welcome returning CDC chairman Mulbah Morlu was seriously wounded under unexplained circumstances.
The incident, according to eyewitness accounts, occurred in the environs of the CDC Congo Town headquarters. According to a family spokesman, they believe their relative was shot and seriously wounded. Further, according to the spokesman, they have appealed to authorities of the MTA to fly their relative out of the country for advanced treatment in view of his critical condition resulting from the alleged shooting by an unidentified individual.
But the Police see things differently. According to Police spokesperson Moses Carter, the NTA driver’s injury was caused by a stone thrown by an unidentified individual. Some eyewitness accounts, however, say the driver was shot. As to whether it was an accidental discharge or not remains unclear. But family members maintain that a stone would not cause extreme injury to their relative that would place his life in such grave danger.
Just who is telling the truth remains unclear in the absence of a medical report stating the kind of injury sustained and its causal agent. The Police are urged to go further in the provision of adequate and accurate information to the public.
Another recent development is the unexplained killing of a female whose lifeless body was discovered on 17 Street near the beach. According to the Police, she was sexually assaulted. Further, the Police maintain that she was mentally challenged and was reported to have often left home for unknown destinations.
But according to eyewitness accounts, the crime scene appeared as though there had been a tussle between the lady and her assailants. Further, according to them, her head appeared to have been bashed by a blunt object, and that parts of her body were extracted. However, these accounts have not been confirmed by the Police. It would however do the Police well to conduct an autopsy and make public the findings.
This is necessary because of the general negative public perception of the Liberia National Police (LNP). Several unexplained deaths/killings have occurred recently that have left the public with rising feelings of insecurity and a growing lack of trust in the ability of this government to protect them.
Recalling from history, rising insecurity and general perceptions of government’s inability to protect the people always serve to undermine the legitimacy of that government. Such was the case with the Doe administration, in which the abuse of human rights was commonplace. Eventually, it led to violent resistance that took away his life.
Similarly placed was the government of President Charles Taylor, who came to power on the heels of a prolonged civil war. At a sovereign national conference convened during his administration, the greatest and unanimous concern of delegates at that conference was insecurity.
But President Charles Taylor, it appeared, remained impervious to those expressed concerns as he did virtually nothing to curtail the excesses of his security forces. The rest is history. According to a retired diplomat, Liberians have had enough, more than their fair share of disruptions to their lives caused by the insane greed of their leaders. Some according to him were known to have indulged in ritual murder and practices.
A former National Patriotic Front (NPFL) rebel, Joseph Zigzag Marzah testified before the Sierra Leone Special Court sitting in The Hague that he and others, along with former Liberian President Charles Taylor, partook in ritual feasts that involved human body parts. Ritualistic killing has been practiced in Liberia for a long time. Those who indulge in it believe that drinking human blood and consuming potions containing human body parts impart them with magical prowess to overcome their enemies politically or otherwise.
In 1977, during the reign of President Tolbert, several prominent individuals and commoners were tried in Maryland County on charges of ritual murder. They were found guilty and sentenced to death and were publicly hanged. For a prolonged period thereafter, ritualistic killing subsided. It has since however reared its head. During the Doe and Taylor administrations, ritualistic killing was a known fact. Cannibalism, especially the eating of human hearts, was practiced by all the warring factions during the civil war
But of late, ritualistic killing and extrajudicial killings have become matters of rising public concern. Indications so far suggest that this government is doing virtually little or nothing to stop it. Additionally, crime, especially violent crime is on the increase. Abductions, handbag and phone snatching by individuals mounted on motorcycles have also increased. Although the public is raising concern, the LNP response appears ineffectual.
This may more likely than not lead to situations where people generally begin to take matters into their hands. Such would not augur well for general public safety, security, and national stability. This is why the public expects that President Weah should become seized of the matter and do something concrete to address concerns about the alleged involvement of his officials in a ritualistic murder.
He is currently on a mission to Accra, Ghana, intended to resolve the situation in neighboring Guinea arising from the overthrow of President Alpha Conde. ECOWAS and the AU have since imposed sanctions. As a leader, President Weah should remember that cardinal among his duties is the duty to defend the people against threats to their safety and security and ensure the protection of their rights. For your information, the people of Liberia are under siege Mr. President. You have to break that siege now!
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, 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.