After two suspected ritual murders, in Nimba County, Liberia, tribal devils become detectives

Unfortunately, ritual murder are no exception in Africa’s oldest republic. Experience teaches us that ritualistic murders in Liberia are on the increase during elections campaigns and when important political appointments are expected – which though does not exclude other circumstances explaining a rise in ritual killings. In the past four to five years, ritual murders have been reported in at least seven of Liberia’s fifteen counties including Montserrado, Bomi, Bong, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Grand Kru and Maryland counties. However, the absence of discoveries of mutilated bodies or reports of ritual murders should not be interpreted as the absence of these criminal and outdated superstitious practices. By definition, occult practices and ritualistic murders take place in secret.

In the article below reference is made to a prominent person who held a very senior position in the Weah Administration and who allegedly is said to be implied in the reported case of two young boys who were murdered for ritual activities. It should be underlined here that this is not the position of the webmaster of this site (FVDK). Moreover, I uphold the principle that no one is guilty unless found guilty by an independent judge after an impartial, public trial.

The original article shown here includes a number of links referring to other, previously published articles containing relevant and related information. I have decided to also include these articles in this posting in order to avoid the (future) situation that the original articles are no longer available or accessible after they have lost been lost in cyberspace, unfortunately not an uncommon phenomenon.

All articles together sketch a reality in Liberia which is rarely shown but which exists. No use to deny or to ignore it. A reality of traditional practices and beliefs, a reality of cultural history including respect for the ancestors. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it goes without saying that a ‘war on ignorance and superstition’ is a must in Africa’s oldest republic, which was created in 1847 by African Americans.
(webmaster FVDK)

Liberia: In Nimba, Tribal Devils Become Detectives

The suspects in the deaths of two children in Boe Bonlay Town, District #6, Nimba County.  

Published: October 4, 2022
By: Ishmael F. Menkor – Daily Observer, Liberia

…. When the National Police could not solve a double homicide in their rural community, the people of Beo Bonlay Town, Nimba County, employed the most unconventional means.

It was a breakthrough in a double-murder case that would have been written off as an anomaly except that, in the context of numerous unsolved gruesome murders across Liberia in recent years, police investigations have consistently come up with the same results as they did in this one — “no evidence” or “no foul play” — case closed. 

But the people of Beo Bonlay Town, District # 6, Nimba County, would not take ‘no’ for an answer. In an unprecedented move, they summoned their tribal devils to confirm their hunch and solve what they believed were the murders of two innocent boys who had gone missing and later turned up dead in separate locations. 

It all started on June 9, when the two boys, Handsome-boy Mahn, 9 and Zayglay David, 4, went missing after they returned from the farm in the afternoon.

Hours after their disappearance, the community launched an immediate manhunt for the children. Unfortunately they were found dead with their bodies dumped in two separate wells about 20 minutes apart. 

The deaths of the two children sent shockwaves of fear and  concern among citizens of the district, especially when the first batch of investigators from the Tappita Police Detail, led by the detail commander and the 15-man coroner jury, ruled that there was no foul-play. 

But reports reaching the Daily Observer said an initial examination of the corpses showed that the boys’ necks had been broken. There was also an alleged ‘erasing mark’ on the coroner jury’s report, but this is yet to be verified. 

“The devil”, it is said, “is in the details.” Or is it? 

Unconvinced by the “no foul-play” conclusions of the coroner jury and the police, the citizens this time brought out their tribal devils to search for the perpetrators. It was during the search that seven men were arrested on July 16,  and turned over to police in Sanniquellie for interrogation.

Even after the tribal devils arrested the suspects, the police (again) claimed that due to lack of scientific evidence, they could not charge the alleged perpetrators. This caused the case to drag on until September, when the Crime Services Department (CSD) sent another batch of officers, backed by former Ganta Police Commander, Adolphus Zorh, to conduct the investigation.

Commander Zorh’s team was able to establish the facts and determine that two of the seven men be released because police could not find any evidence to charge them. The other five men arrested by tribal devils were charged by police and sent to court.

According to the CSD, Sanniquellie Detachment, Liberia National Police, the five men were charged with “murder, criminal facilitation and criminal conspiracy” and sent to the Sanniquellie Magisterial Court for preliminary investigation.

Initial confessions

Following their arrest by the tribal devils in the beginning, one of the suspects, Prince Karney, age 41, immediately confessed that they were given the amount of US$1,200 for the murderous operation.

He said he then hired one Zayee Winpea, 43, to kill the two children for the amount of US$300 and gave US$150 to Nenkerwon Mahn, an 18-year-old uncle of the kids, to serve as a watchman while the killing was carried out.

The oldest among the suspects, 45-year-old Morris Gonwon, was also promised US$150 for his role in the killing, which was not spelled out.  Two of the seven suspects, George Sumah and Lawrence Sumah, were hired to take the victims’ blood to Monrovia, while another suspect, Harrison Sumah, was the one who lured the kids with candy before grabbing them. 

During the CSD final investigation, Morris Gonwon and George Sumah were released on grounds that there was not enough evidence to prosecute them. The five persons charged and sent to court are Prince Karney, Harrison Sumah, Lawrence Freeman, Nenkerwon Mahn, and Zayee Winpea.

Prince Karney is said to be the Youth leader of Boe Bonlay and coordinator for the “Friends of Jackson Paye”, a political canvassing group. Jackson Paye is a former Deputy Minister of National Defense who has expressed his desire to contest for the Nimba County District #6 representative seat in 2023.

The murder suspects alleged that the former deputy minister facilitated the killing by giving them the US$1,200 for the operation — to get the children’s blood, allegedly for ritual purposes.

However, Jackson Paye on Truth FM on Thursday, June 22, 2022 denied having any connection to the killings, describing the acts as barbaric, inhumane and uncivilized. He explained that the “Friends of Paye” want the law to take its course, ensuring the alleged perpetrators face the full weight of the law. 

Traditional justice 

It is not clear whether the tribal devils ever got to the heart of the matter to determine exactly who ordered the men to kill the two children.  We may never know. 

However, in cases where communities in Liberia have invoked tribal justice systems to supersede statutory law — especially in the absence of forensic evidence — statutory systems tend to give way. Especially in rural communities, law enforcement personnel dare not interfere with matters involving tribal devils. 

In the recent past, such has been the case in instances where communities have risen up to express their dissatisfaction when their expectations of government have been egregiously dashed. 

In November 2021, Lofa County, a powerful sect of the Poro Society, the Ngaimu, staged a protest, blocking the bridge that connects Bong and Lofa counties, to oppose the delay by the Supreme Court to decide whether Senator-elect Brownie Samukai should take his Lofa County senatorial seat, which had been unoccupied due to a disability imposed on him by the Court for nearly a year.

In response, the Deputy Inspector General for Operations of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Marvin Sackor, threatened necessary actions against any country devil protest. Yet, no move was made on the part of the police.  

A month earlier, October 18, 2021, members of the secret Poro Society shut down ArcelorMittal Liberia’s operations in Yekepa, Nimba County for more than 48 hours at both Mount Tokadeh and Mount Gangra, over claims that AML failed to live up to its previous amended mineral development agreement (MDA) with the government.  

For ArcelorMittal Liberia, this was not the first time.  Barely six weeks earlier, on September 27, 2021, the Poro masters temporarily besieged the operation areas of AML, halting operations for 8 hours. 

But tribal or traditional devils are only one extreme of traditional justice systems. Liberia recognizes a whole regime of what it calls “trial by ordeal”, a method by which suspects are made to undergo an often dangerous test to determine their innocence or guilt. However, while the United Nations has called on Liberia to abolish all forms of trial by ordeal, only the most harmful aspects of this system of justice have been abolished.

Source: Liberia: In Nimba, Tribal Devils Become Detectives

Also:

Lofa County locked down by “Country Devil”

(L-r)  Cars forcefully stopped at the crossing point between Bong and Lofa Counties – leaving several business people stranded along the way.  

Published: November 26, 2021
By: Marcus Malaya – Daily Observer, Liberia

A protest against the Supreme Court of Liberia has resulted in the shut-down of the border crossing point between Bong and Lofa Counties – leaving several business people stranded along the way.

The protest, which is being led by the powerful sect of the Poro Society, the Ngaimu, is intended to oppose the delay by the Supreme Court to decide the fate of the Lofa County senatorial seat, which has been unoccupied due to the disability imposed on Senator-elect Brownie Samukai by the Court.

The protesters, who are all men and led by the fearsome, Ngaimu – the traditional name of head of the Poro Society in that part of Liberia – have blocked the road, halting the movement of people and goods between the two counties, while those who are not members of the society have remained indoors since the morning hours of Thursday, November 25.

“Ngaimu has set a roadblock in the village of Beyan Town on the Lofa side of the border.  The action of Ngaimu is in protest of the Court and the Government of Liberia’s failure to announce the Senate seat of Lofa County vacant since the Senator-elect Samukai has not been able to take the seat due to his disability by the Supreme Court,” disclosed eyewitnesses at the scene of the protest.

The protesters, however, vowed to keep the road closed until the Court ruled on the matter – deciding if the senate will be declared vacant or not. And security personnel, some of whom are not members of the society, have also been dared to remove the roadblock, setup by Ngaimu.

The fear of the Ngaimu has also prevented the women from going out to tend to their farms, since it is forbidden for a woman to lay eyes on it – as doing so comes with consequences, traditionalists claim.

The eyewitness accounts revealed that there are more than three “Ngaimus” currently at the St. Paul Bridge in Beyan Town and there are more “Ngaimus” coming to join the others currently at the bridge.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court months ago denied Samukai’s request for the high court to reverse the judgment of the Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, which found him and two others guilty of misapplying over US$1 million in pension funds stored up in a bank account for members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) when he served as Defense Minister. 

The disability includes the payment of US$173,276.05 as some portion of his share of money illegally withdrawn from the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) pension funds, for which he was found guilty of misapplication of entrusted property, theft of property, and other criminal offenses by Criminal Court ‘C’ with such ruling confirmed by the Supreme.

While Samukai made a payment of US$173,276.05, his two deputies Joseph F. Johnson, former Deputy Minister for Administration, and J. Nyumah Dorkor, former Comptroller, did not despite being found guilty jointly.

Samukai, together with Johnson and Dorkor, were to pay the amount of US$573,832.68 within a six-month period to avoid imprisonment, according to the Supreme Court mandate to the Criminal Court ‘C’.  It was out of the amount of US$573,832.68 that Samukai alone managed to pay the US$173,276.05, which his followers believed is the portion of his share of the money.

The Court then ordered the National Election Commission not to certify him until the disability imposed on him as a result of his conviction for felony is removed. The Court argued that from a review of the records, Samukai and his two deputies were jointly charged with the commission of the crimes for which they were brought down guilty.

The Supreme Court added that the restitution is a part of the sentence, as such; Samukai and the two others are to restitute the amount withdrawn from the AFL Pension Account without the permission or authorization of the soldiers.

History of the case

Samukai, then former Defense Minister, together with Johnson and Dorkor without any authorization, withdrew the amount US$1,147,665.35 from the pension fund belonging to soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).

The three men were later declared guilty of multiple crimes including misuse of private funds and subsequently sentenced to two years in prison each, and also ordered to restitute the money within a year by the Criminal Court ‘C’. The judgment was later modified by the Supreme Court after Samukai and the others appealed against it to the high court.

In the modification, the Supreme Court said it was suspending their prison term on grounds that, if they were to pay fifty percent (50) of the judgment amount of the US$1,147,665.35, which is $573,832.68, within six months period, which expired by August, 26, they would avoid Imprisonment.

Source: Liberia: Lofa Locked Down by “Country Devil”

Also:

Liberia National Police warns against ‘Country Devil’ protests

Headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP)

Published: December 10, 2021
By: Tina S. Mehnpaine – Daily Observer, Liberia

The Deputy  Inspector General for Operations of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Marvin Sackor has threatened necessary actions against any country devil protest.

He said if people are disenchanted, they should make use of the legal means rather than staying in protest to undermine the peace of the country.

“It is unfortunate and unfair that some of our people are using the tradition to undermine the peace and security of this country. Let me say this, article 17 of our constitution gives citizens the right to peacefully assemble and petition their government. So if you, as a citizen of this country, will use whatever political means or any disenchantment to undermine the peace of this country, I can assure the public that the Liberia National Police will use whatever force necessary to contain that situation,” he warned.

Since the staging of a protest by members of the poro society in Lofa county to call on the attention of the Supreme Court to decide the fate of Senator-elect Brownie Samukai, traditional leaders have been accused of allowing politicians to influence them.

The group of men led by their powerful poro master, Ngainmu, on November 30, blocked the entrance of the St. Paul bridge that connects Bomi and Lofa counties to pressure the court to reopen the case of Senator-elect Samukai.

Sackor added that if traditional people have any disenchantment in the country, they should use legal means to get redress instead of blocking roads to cause chaos among citizens.

“There is no exception to the rule of law; our traditional people need to understand that this country is governed by law,” Sackor declared. “ Anyone – I am very clear here – that thinks that they have any other power to undermine the Constitution, trust me, the Liberia National Police will use every legal means to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. So, I am appealing to our traditional people in Lofa. Handle your situation through the legal means. Any attempt to block the St. Paul Bridge, we are under obligation to make sure that the Constitution is intact.”

Nathaniel F. McGill, Minister of State, also accused politicians of masterminding the protest and branding it as a disgrace to Liberian culture.

“I was watching Facebook live and I saw a country devil protesting. This has never happened in our country, it is a shame and whoever did that must be disgraceful,” said Minister McGill.

Addressing the Ministry of information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) regular press briefing in Monrovia, Sackor reminded traditional leaders that they are not above the law and, therefore, any attempt to block roads, the police will not hesitate to act.

Meanwhile, the deputy inspector general has revealed that due to the increasing wave of criminal activities in the country, there will be restrictions imposed on motorcyclists. 

He said a police investigation has shown that criminals are transported by motorcyclists so the Police have commenced the implementation of the no-go-zones for motorcyclists ahead of the festive season in Liberia, to avoid the transportation of criminals.

Source: Liberia: LNP Warns Against ‘Country Devil’ Protests

Also:

Poro Society halts ArcelorMittal’s operations in Yekepa

AML train in motion in Liberia

Published: October 19, 2021
By: Ishmael F. Menkor – Daily Observer, Liberia

Steel giant ArcelorMittal was forced yesterday to shut down its Yekepa operations after members of the secret poro society made an unannounced visit to protest against alleged neglect by the company.

The strike action, which is highly unprecedented for members of the highly respected Poro Society in Liberia, comes amid rising tension in the company’s operating areas weeks after it had signed an amended mineral development agreement with the government of Liberia.

The agreement, which now awaits ratification from lawmakers, has been met with rejection by mines communities in Nimba County, where the company operates, over claims that AML failed to live up to its previous amended mineral development agreement (MDA) with the government. 

Poro Society members, led by the Poro Master,  shut down AML operations for more than  48 hours  at both Mount Tokadeh and Mount Gangra and might likely last for 14 days, according to an insider close to the Poro masters. 

The protest, which is the second in a month, is happening as county officials remain mute on the matter while they negotiate behind closed doors.

However, an elderly resident of one of mine communities has disclosed that the company, through its’ Community liaison manager, has begun negotiating with society members to cancel their protest and meet on the round table to discuss issues relating to their concerns.

In a statement, the  AML confirmed the incident, saying, “on early Saturday morning, October 16, 2021, some individuals wearing ceremonial traditional costumes blocked the main access road to the mining site of ArcelorMittal Liberia in Yekepa, disrupting business operations of the company.” 

“As a company that prioritizes safety and security, ArcelorMittal Liberia warns of the associated risks of unauthorized entry of individuals into an industrial environment and condemns such illegal action, said the statement from AML. “AML reaffirms its commitment to community engagement on issues around its operations as a means of finding a common ground.”

Meanwhile, AML said while they respect and continue to support traditional and cultural activities especially in their operational areas, they disagreed with disruptions and acts aimed at causing fear among its workforce are unwarranted and undermine close working relations.

On September 27, 2021 the Poro masters temporarily sieged the operation areas of AML, halting operation of 8 hours.

There has been tension in Nimba County since the Government and AML reached a new Mineral Development Agreement to extend the operation to 2036, where AML stands to invest about UD$ 800 million.

The deal has so far been rejected by mining communities due to claims of past abandonment and negligence of previous MDA.

Source: Poro Society Masters Halt AML Operations in Yekepa

Also:

The following article was originally published on November 1, 2007. It contains highly recommended reading for the readers of this site. It was decided to include it in this posting for two reasons. First, it was originally included in the Daily Observer article on the two slain boys in Nimba County (on top) and secondly, because it contains relevant background information on traditional beliefs and practices which still exist in Liberia despite being outlawed for reasons which will be clear after having read the article.

Liberia: Trial by ordeal makes the guilty burn but “undermines justice”

Sassywood and Witch Persecution in Liberia – by Leo Igwe. To access the article, please click here
Igwe’s article serves as illustration and is not related to the OCHA article below.

Published: November 1, 2007
By: OCHA Services – Relief Web

MONROVIA, 1 November 2007 (IRIN)

  • About 50 people in the village of Klay, northwestern Liberia, recently gathered to watch a man apply red-hot metal to the limbs of four youths accused of robbery.

The man dipped a machete in a concoction of water, palm oil and kola nuts, held it in fire for several minutes, and then placed it on the right legs of the four suspects. None of the youths – ages 16 to 26 – appeared to flinch. They were deemed not guilty.

This practice known as ‘sassywood’ is banned under national law, but is still regarded as a legitimate form of justice by many Liberians. A suspect is subjected to intense pain and judged on his or her reaction – if the hot metal burns the person’s leg, he or she is found guilty.

The UN has repeatedly warned that the practice is undermining efforts to improve human rights in Liberia as the country attempts to recover from 14 years of war.

Many legal specialists and human rights activists say relying on customs such as trial by ordeal – often harmful and even deadly – is down to the decrepit state of Liberia’s judicial system. And many say not enough is being done to restore the sector, left in tatters by the war.

Four years after the fighting ended, progress in rebuilding the judicial and corrections system is “very slow”, according to an August report by the UN Security Council. “The judicial system is constrained by limited infrastructure, shortage of qualified personnel, lack of capacity to process cases, poor management and lack of the necessary will to institute reforms.” The report said most people do not have access to legal counsel.

Legal advisers in Liberia say the absence of functioning courts in most rural areas is due in large part to lawyers’ reluctance to take judgeships there, as well as the lack of infrastructure for courts.

In the central Liberian town of Gbarnga in Bong County, 150km north of the capital Monrovia, residents told IRIN that trial by ordeal is the only means to adjudicate alleged crimes.

“If somebody is accused of stealing money, clothes, jewellery, food or other items, the best [way] to know who committed the act is to administer sassywood, which is fast – it takes less than 30 minutes to know who did the act,” Gbarnga resident Johnny Bono said.

Users of sassywood believe the person administering it and the instruments used have mystical powers. Practitioners are paid in money or goods – up to 2000 Liberian dollars (US$32) per ‘trial’ in the capital and about a third of that in rural areas. Sometimes payment is kola nuts and a pure-white chicken.

According to a rights activist in Nimba County, the problem is that many people will submit to sassywood because they do not know it has been outlawed.

“Sassywood is very common here and most people believe that it is the only means of knowing a guilty person,” said Dualo Lor of the church-based NGO Equip-Liberia in Nimba, 300km from Monrovia. “They are not even aware the practice is outlawed.”

He group recently prevented the application of sassywood on a 32-year-old man accused of theft. “We have been trying very hard [to educate] the people about the danger of sassywood, but they just have not stopped it.”

Some legal experts say it will be tough to stop if citizens do not feel they have a reliable justice system to take its place.

“The trial by ordeal in most parts of the country clearly shows that most people do not have confidence in the court system,” Anthony Valcke, Liberia country director of the American Bar Association in Africa, told IRIN. “If people had such confidence, they would not resort to trial by ordeal.”

Tradition

“No amount of laws or government order can stop sassywood,” Yerkula Zaizay, a resident of Gbarnga, told IRIN. “It is a tradition that our forefathers left with us. This is better than going to court. My late grandfather taught me how to apply sassywood and it is part of my culture so it cannot be easily stopped.”

Gbarnga resident Bono said, “We cannot waste our time going to court. The sassywood is our courtroom. This is what our forefathers have been practising in the past and it has been working.”

Lawyer Augustine Toe, head of the Justice and Peace Commission, a Catholic human rights group, said: “Sassywood undermines the justice system of this country and the rights of an accused are not protected. Our constitution provides that anyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a [court of law].”

Liberia’s chief prosecutor, Tiawon Gongloe, told IRIN he had instructed all county prosecuting officers to arrest anyone carrying out trial by ordeal.

“We are aware sassywood is going on and this act is not only unlawful, but unconstitutional,” he said, noting that 12 people were arrested earlier this year in southeastern Liberia for having administered sassywood.

UN independent human rights expert, Charlotte Abaka, said the government had to do more. “The Liberian government should take concrete steps to enforce the ban on trial by ordeal,” she said, calling the practice a “grave” breach of human rights.

ak/np/mw

Source: Liberia: Trial by ordeal makes the guilty burn but “undermines justice”

Liberia: Traditional devils arrest six men for allegedly killing two children for rituals 

The arrest of six men in Nimba County, Liberia, for allegedly killing two children on June 9 warrants three comments.

Handsome-boy Mahn, 9 years old, and 4-year old Zayzay David mysteriously went missing in Boe Bonlay Town, Boe-Quillah Administrative District, which is also part of District #6, Nimba County. Later the kids were found dead, murdered, although the police ruled out any foul play. Subsequently, the villagers asked traditional devils for help, to search for the perpetrators. This led to a ‘citizen arrest’ when six men were arrested on July 16 and turned over to police in Sanniquellie, Nimba County for interrogation. Among the suspects was an uncle of the two children.

Reportedly, the arrested men confessed and admitted to killing the two kids. The suspects accused a former Deputy Defense Minister of involvement ands ordering the ritualistic murder. Allegedly, the named former deputy minister wanted to contest for a representative seat in 2023 in Nimba District #6.

The reader is warned that the article below contains graphic details.

The incident leads me to three comments, based on the facts as reported by the source, the Liberian newspaper Daily Observer, one of Liberia’s leading newspapers, known and respected for its trusted news and interesting analyses.

First, the ‘election season’ is approaching in Liberia with planned presidential and general elections in 2023. It is not uncommon in Liberia that during election campaigns people disappear mysteriously, to be found later dead, mutilated, with ‘parts missing’, a local expression indicating the removal of organs or body parts for ritualistic purposes. Already Liberia has experienced several cases of unexplained disappearances, suspected deaths, and obvious ritual murders in the past few years.

Secondly, if true that initially the police had reported that it had found no foul play whereas the bodies of the victims were found to be not intact, this raises questions about police competence and the rule of law in Liberia. The latter has been subject to increasing criticism during the current administration of President George Weah who faces elections in 2023, the outcome of which will decide whether he will be a ‘one-term-President’ or will seize a second presidential term. It is interesting to note that apparently the people of Boe Bonlay Town showed more confidence in their traditional devils than in the local police.

Lastly, the Daily Observer article presented below contains the full name of the former Deputy Minister of Defense who is allegedly involved in this crime. Although this may be in conformity with Liberian rules and practice, I personally disapprove of such public naming and shaming. Moreover, we should always bear in mind that a suspect or accused person is not guilty unless found guilty by a competent, independent judge in a public, non-partisan trial.

In view of the in my opinion hectic period which Liberia will be facing the next two years it is important to realize this.
(webmaster FVDFK)

Liberia: ‘Traditional devils’ arrest six men suspected of two ritual killings

Published: June 24, 2022
By: Ishmael G. Menkor – The Daily Observer

Traditional devils in the Nimba County District #6, specifically Boe Bonlay Town, have arrested six men for allegedly killing two children on June 9. The two children, identified as Handsome-boy Mahn, 9, and Zayzay David, 4, mysteriously went missing in the Boe Bonlay Town, Boe-Quillah Administrative District, which is also part of District #6, Nimba County.

The kids had returned from the farm before the unfortunate accident.  According to the kids’ parents, Mahn and David went missing while playing.  The community then launched a search immediately but unfortunately, the kids were found dead with their bodies dumped in two separate wells about 20 minutes apart. The death of the two children then raised concern and fears among the citizens and the district at large, especially when the police or the 15-person coroner jury explained that there was no foul play found.

Despite the jury or the police ruling out any foul-play, the citizens this time brought out traditional devils to search for the perpetrators. During this exercise, several men were arrested on July 16 and turned over to police in Sanniquellie, Nimba County for interrogation.

Following their arrest, the six suspects reportedly admitted to killing the children, with one of the accused suspects, Prince Karney, age 41, explaining that they were given the amount of US$1,200 for the operation.

According to information, the main suspect, Zayee Winpea, 43, was hired by Karney to kill the two children for the amount of US$300, while Nenkerwon Mahn, 18, was given US$150 to serve as a watchman while the killing was ongoing. Nenkerwon Mahn is said to be the uncle of the two kids and he also confessed to serving as gate man, while the killing was going on.

The oldest among the suspects, Morris Gonwon, age 45, was also promised US$150 for his part, but his role in the killing was not spelled out.  Two of the suspects, George Sumah, 42, and Lawrence Freeman, 45, were accused of transporting the blood to Monrovia, while Harrison Sumah, 29, grabbed the two children by luring them with lollipops and took them to the house where they were killed, according to Radio Nimba.

Karney was said to be the ‘youth leader’ of Boe Bonlay in Nimba County, and the district coordinator for the Friends of former Deputy Defense Minister Jackson Paye, who had expressed his desire to contest for a representative seat in 2023 in Nimba District #6.

Former Minister Paye was accused by the suspects of facilitating the killing by giving them US$1,200. But Paye on Truth FM on June 23 denied any link to the killing, describing the killing as barbaric, inhumane, and uncivilized.

He explained that the Friends of Paye want the law to take its course, ensuring the alleged perpetrators face the full weight of the law.

Source: Liberia: Traditional Devils Arrest Six

Nimba County, Liberia

Liberia: Boy discovered dead in Nimba County; cause of death linked to ritualistic rites

Yesterday morning I posed a question – in fact, I made a statement expressing my opinion – but could not imagine that a sad event would soon confirm my view.

I stated: “Ritual murders still occur in Liberia, notably during election campaigns, and the fear of ritualistic killings is a daily preoccupation of many Liberians.”  See yesterday’s  post Ritual murders and elections in Liberia

Then I read the news, later, yesterday evening. “Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites”.

Sad news. I prefer to have been wrong. When will it end in Liberia? When will it stop, ritualistic murders? How come that it does not stop in Liberia (and elsewhere)?

Many questions. Now first the facts.
(webmaster FVDK).

Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites

Published: January 31, 2020
By: The Bush Chicken – Jerry Myers

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – A 9-year-old boy has been found dead in a hideout in Nimba’s sixth district, with his body partially dismembered and missing key body parts. The body of Lee Arthur was found on Thursday, Jan. 23 in Sahn Village.

The cause of death remains unknown. However, residents of the village suspect that his missing body parts is an indication that he may be a victim of a ritualistic murder.

Coroners from Boe and Quella administrative districts, as well as Liberia National Police officers in Bahn, Nimba’s seventh district, who visited the scene crime, have all ruled out death from natural causes, suggesting that the child was murdered.

The head of Boe and Quella Administrative District’s Coroner Office, Moses Kargou, described the incident as “too scaring” and the first of its kind in the district since he took up his position in 2005.

“Since my father who was the district coroner died in 2005, and the district people chose me to serve [in] the position, this is my first time to see such ugly act,” Kargou said. “People can get drowned in water, and several other deaths have been happening here. But today, to see someone butchered like [an] animal, it is bad.”

Kargou expressed doubts that the crime was committed by a stranger to the village, suggesting that the perpetrator must be a member of the community. His passionate plea, therefore, was for the police to bring the killers to justice. Kargou then pledged the village’s fullest cooperation in the investigation.

“We can only hear about these kinds of acts on the main road, but for someone to travel this far to commit such an act is really serious,” he noted.

Four persons are already suspected in the alleged murder and are currently in police custody in Bahn.

Following the coroners’ examination and police forensic investigation, the victim’s remains were turned over to his family who, without money to preserve it at a mortuary, has gone forward with burial.

There has been no formal indictment of any suspect as the police investigation continues.

Source: Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites

Nimba County, Liberia

Ganta, Liberia : Alvino Hotel, ransacked in 2015, resurrected

The first reproduced article below is not meant to express my belief in the involvement or guilt of any of the persons linked to the alleged ritual killing referred to in the article. With this article I want to focus both on the ‘never ending’ practice of ritual murders in Liberia and on the mob justice that took place in Ganta, Liberia, on September 30, 2015. The riots following another ritual murder in the area illustrate one of the main messages of the present site: the need for more respect for the laws of the country – by its citizens – and the strengthening of the rule of law – by the national authorities.

On September 30, 2015 a mob ransacked the Alvino Hotel in Ganta, owned by Prince Howard, burnt down his private residence and even destroyed the three-storey minimart, speculating that he was behind a ritual murder that allegedly had been committed in the city. The suspected ritualistic killing was the third murder in Nimba County within a relatively short period of time. As repeatedly said, the phenomenon of ritual killings has never completely disappeared in Liberia. The death of a motorcyclist by the hands of a ritual killer was followed by widespread riots. At one point, the government even decided to impose a curfew. For more information on the incident mentioned, the riots, as well as the three ritual murders, please read the following reproduced articles.
Warning: some photos and articles contain graphic details. 

(Webmaster FVDK)

Following arson attack in 2015, leading hotel in Ganta back in business

Partial view of the new Alvino Hotel in Ganta

Published: September 27, 2018
By: Ishmael F. Menkor
Daily Observer

After years of devastation, the Alvino Hotel in Ganta has now reopened to the public, with new design and with modern facilities.

Opening ceremony, which was held on Saturday, September 22, 2018, brought together some high profile bankers and business executives of Liberia, including president of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), John B. S. Davies and his predecessor, Mr. Francis A. Dennis; as well as the President of Liberia Business Association, among others.

In his opening remark, the proprietor of the Alvino Hotel, Prince Howard, explained his ordeal about how his hotel was destroyed and the resilience it took to have the hotel restored. He praised LBDI for assisting him the process of reconstructing the building.

“With resilience, I championed the cost of reconstructing the facility to restore hope to those who rely on the investment for employment,” he said. “With the invaluable assistance of the LBDI, I was able to work, not just to restore the existing structure and facility, but improve it to international standard.”

The Alvino Hotel suffered an arson attack by an angry mob on September 30, 2015, when they linked Howard to the death of a motorcyclist who was found brutally murdered in Ganta. The mob ransacked the hotel, burnt down his private residence and even destroyed the three-storey minimart, speculating that he was behind the killing for ritual purposes.

He condemned the act and considered the perpetrators as “limited in life”, saying, “blood does not make money, so we should stop deadly envy and invest in infrastructure.”

“Liberians, let us invest in ourselves and the LBDI, our Liberian bank, because it through the LBDI that I was able to build the first Alvino and now this new one,” he said.

LBDI president Davies said he was disappointed and frustrated when heard people say that Alvino was built with blood money, in spite of the fact that LBDI had loaned Mr. Howard US$100,000 for the first construction. He said all of this happened because the state failed to protect taxpayers against violence.

Mr. Davies explained that following the attack, they tried by all means to get the state to pay for the damaged properties, but their efforts failed.

He said the LBDI will not allow the investment of its entrepreneurs go into ashes. Therefore, after their efforts to get the government for the damage failed, the LBDI decided to loan Howard another US$300,000 to rebuild the hotel.

He said that LBDI will continue to support the hotel until every aspect or condition is improved.

Senator Oscar Cooper thanked the LBDI for the support given Prince Howard for the second time. “It is the private sector that will support this country,” he said, calling on the government to do more to help businesses.

He urged the management of new Alvino to insure the property and encouraged Liberians to be strong in business and stop relying on government.

Francis Dennis, former president of LBDI and of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, encouraged Howard to keep on, saying, “A setback is a set up for comeback.”

The new Alvino Hotel is one of the leading hotels in Ganta, with electronic doors, a modern conference room with wireless projector, modern bar and restaurant and two presidential suites.

Meanwhile, Howard has named the night club “9/30”, in memory of the event that devastated his properties.

Source: Alvina Hotel Resurrected

Below a number of related articles:

45 Charged in Ganta violence

Published: October 19, 2015
By: The New Democrat

The Liberia National Police (LNP) has charged 45 suspects in the Ganta violence in Nimba County with murder, property theft, riot and arson.

Police deputy spokesman, Lewis Norman told the New Democrat Wednesday, the LNP has concluded its investigation of perpetrators of the Ganta violence and 45 people were charged accordingly and are awaiting trial.

He disclosed that three persons, Bill Lawrence, Tony Sekie and Fanta Kamara were charged with murder in connection with the killing of the motorcyclist near the Methodist Compound in Ganta city. The killing sparked the violence.
Other suspects were charged with theft of property, rioting and arson.

Angry residents of Ganta City, including motorcyclists on September 30 went on the rampage to protest the mysterious death of Milton Weatgbeh, believed to be a motorcyclist and set business houses and the residence of a local businessman Prince Howard ablaze.

Mob justice in Ganta following a third ritual murder. An angry crowd suspected the owner of the vino Hotel, Prince Howard, being involved in the recent ritual killing.

The protesters also set up roadblocks and looted other businesses in the city to avenge the death of the motorcyclist whose body was found near the Ganta United Methodist High School sports pitch.

Prince Howard, owner of the Alvino Hotel in Ganta City was accused of masterminding the killing of motorcyclist Weatgbeh for ritualistic purposes, an allegation the businessman denied.

Norman explained that Howard was also investigated but because nothing established his involvement with the death of the motorcyclist, he was set free.

He noted the Police have nothing with Mr. Howard because the person who implicated him was killed in the Ganta turmoil, leaving the police with no evidence to hold Prince Howard culpable for murder.

Information Minister Lewis G. Brown at the MICAT regular press briefing Tuesday noted there was a growing public concerns about mob violence as the UNMIL drawdown gains momentum.
Mr. Brown said in 2015 alone, Montserrado, Sinoe, Grand Bassa, River Gee and Nimba counties have experienced mob violence. He said mob violence is mob injustice, which undermines the rule of law.

“The rule of law may not always deliver what we may want, but it keeps the society safe and peaceful,” he emphasized.

The Information Minister also disclosed that according to UNMIL reports, from January to September 2013 there were 46 mob related incidents and 32 in the same period in 2012.

Source: 45 charged in Ganta violence

And: 

Liberia: Weak Justice System Promotes Violence

Published: October 8, 2018
By:The New Dawn /  Liberian Law Makers Watch

Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee, has cautioned here that weak and delayed justice system promotes mob violence, something, he said should not be the case of Liberia.

Sen. Grupee, who is the Senate Committee Chair on Internal Affairs,described as unfortunate, the recent bloody violence in Ganta, Nimba County, which led to loss of lives and properties. Speaking to members of the Legislative Press Pool Wednesday at the Capitol Building, he said gone are those days when people took the laws into their hands, while emphasizing the need for the justice system in Liberia to become pro­active to win public trust or else, people will always want pay back whenever they realized things are not handled speedily by the national government.

Senator Grupee noted that in barely one month, the people of Nimba experienced three suspected ritualistic killings in the county, but the government has delayed in responding to those incidents. The Lawmaker however clarified that he does not support the action of his kinsmen in killing and burning down private and public properties in an apparent reprisal attack.

According to him, the best option to maintaining peace and stability in Liberia is for government to serve victims of injustice by making the justice system speedily pro­active. Senator Grupee made these assertions after returning from a public account conference in Lome, Togo where he represented the country.

Chaos erupted in Ganta,Nimba County last week Wednesday when angry mob attacked the Ganta Police Station, including an office of the Drugs Enforcement Agency following the reported discovery of the dead body of a motorcyclist near The Ganta Methodist compound.

The deceased was discovered lying in a pool of blood around the 404 community in Ganta with deep cuts on his head. The angry mob, mostly youths, stormed the Ganta Police Station, damaged a Police vehicle, and looted the entire police station before breaking into a police withholding cell and releasing inmates there.

The mob subsequently set ablaze a local business center, Avino Hotel and theprivate residence of a local businessman, Prince Howard. Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia thru the Ministry of Justice in Monrovia has launched an investigation into the Ganta violence following several arrests by the Liberia National Police.

Source: Liberia: Weak Justice System Promotes Violence

And:

Curfew imposed in Ganta

Published: October 1, 2015
By: Franklin Doloquee, NImba, with additional reporting by Winston Parley in Monrovia
The New Dawn, Liberia

2015 – Ganta, Liberia – Violence after a series of ritual murders

Private properties were set ablaze in addition to a police station, as angry residents, mostly youths went on the rampage demanding justice for a 14-year old motorcyclists  whose body was discovered near the United Methodist Compound in Ganta, Nimba County.

The victim, reportedly hailed from Gipo Town, electoral district# 8, but was a resident of Ganta up to his death. The angry youths including motorcyclists of Ganta and adjacent areas destroyed several private properties, particularly businesses owned by a prominent resident, Prince Howard, accused of involvement into the deceased’s death.

The victim has been identified as Melton Wehgbay. His death followed the discovery of another dead motorcyclist few days ago in the same county. 15-year-old Josephus Yeawon, a resident of  Peace Community in Ganta, was reportedly invited by his 17-year-old colleague, Josiah Balmo, to go for a palm wine ride along the Ganta-Saclepea highway when he was similarly found dead.

Earlier, a seven-year-old girl, who had reportedly gone missing on August 7, 2015, was found dead with several body parts missing.

The angry residents also mobbed a resident of Congo community in Ganta to death. The deceased was identified as ‘Decent Boy’, 28.
He was attacked after the angry crowd spotted bloodstain on his motorbike, thus, suspecting him of involvement into the death of Melton Wehgbay. The rioters ransacked and  looted several public buildings, including the Drugs Enforcement Agency office, office of the Mayor of Ganta and the police station in Ganta before moving onto Mr. Prince Howard’s compound that contains a three storey building and setting it ablaze.
The whereabouts of Mr. Howard and his entire family are said to be unknown.  Normal activities in Ganta, including school and businesses were at a standstill on Wednesday due to  the violence with the authorizes declaring a curfew.

Meanwhile, riot police officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) from Monrovia and the Police Support Unit (PSU) from the Gbarnga Regional Hub have been dispatched to Ganta in response to the chaos that led to the destruction of private and public properties.
On Wednesday, 30 September the rioters in Ganta set free 22 detainees who were in police cell and then set the police station ablaze in Ganta, Deputy Police Spokesman Mr. Lewis Norman told reporters yesterday afternoon.

The authorities here in Monrovia say they have arrested six persons in connection to the vandalism in Ganta, but they told reporters that the situation was under control and urged the public to remain calm. Mr. Norman listed those arrested in after the violent riot as Jackie Lannon, Armstrong Zayzay, Oswa Gbangbay, Ericson Samuel, Francis Togbah and Abraham Jalloh.

The violence began when a dead body believed to be that of a motorcyclist was discovered around the Methodist Compound in Ganta; with rumor further being spread that another corpse believed to be a man identified as Milton Kpaklah had also been discovered in one Prince Howard’s house in Ganta.

Prior to the alleged discoveries of a corpose in Mr. Howard’s house and the one near the Methodist Compound, suspects David Lawrence and Asha Fofana had been held in police custody for the alleged disappearance of two persons in the area.
In the aftermath of claim by the rioters that a body was in Mr. Howard’s house, Police say rioters burnt both his car and house, and a local hotel called Alvion on Sanniquellie Road in Ganta. Investigators are yet to attach cost to the violence, but Mr. Norman says the situation has been brought under control.

Source: Curfew imposed in Ganta

And:

Motorcyclist found dead with missing body parts

Published: September 29, 2015
By: Franklin Doloquee, Nimba, Edited by Jonathan Browne
The New Dawn, Liberia

The remains of a 15-year-old motorcyclist, who reportedly went missing in Ganta, have been found with several body parts missing in electoral district #8, Nimba County.

The late Josephus Yeawon, was allegedly invited last week Tuesday, 22 September by a 17-year-old friend, Jacob Blamo, to go for a ‘palm wine ride’ on the Ganta-Saclepea highway when he met his demise under circumstances suspected to be ritualistic killing.

His body was found with several parts, including throat, eyes, tongue, ears and heart cut off. The NewDawn Nimba correspondent says the mysterious death of Josephus brings to two the number of motorcyclists discovered dead in the county in less than a year.

The incident has created serious panic among residents of Ganta, including citizens of district #8. The deceased’s body was found between Blohn Town and Whyla Town in the district.  A lady, who spoke to this paper following news of Josephus’ death, expressed fear for her own life.

Kou Paye, a marketer in Ganta, lamented that when suspected murderers are arrested in Nimba, the county’s lawmakers allegedly intervene to have them released, wondering how could such behavior stop.
She specifically pointed accusing fingers at Nimba County electoral district #5 Representative, Samuel Kogar, who allegedly wrote a letter recently to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie, demanding the release of a murder suspect charged by the court.

The suspect, Stephen Monwon, is now a free man, going about his normal business in Bleeplay, Nimba County. Meanwhile, no arrest has been made in connection with the mysterious death of motorcyclist Josephus Yeawon. His friend, Jacob Blamo, who allegedly invited him for a ‘palm wine ride’ has not been called in for questioning.

Source: Motorcyclist found dead with missing body parts

More:

Top Nimba County businessman linked to the ritual murder of a motorcyclist 

Published: September 30, 2015
By: Global News Network, GNN Liberia

Property of businessman Prince Howard set ablaze by angry crowd

Following the brutal murder of a motorcyclist during the week in Ganta City, Nimba County by unknown persons, dozens of motorcyclists, and women groups have reportedly taken the entire City hostage in retaliation to the death of a motorcyclist.

According to our Nimba County Correspondent, during the clashes which are ongoing, additional two persons have been pronounced dead as angrily roiters stormed the entire city, making commercial activities to come to complete halt.

Some of those arrested in connection to the death of the motorcyclist, according to our Correspondent have linked the owner of the most famous Alvino Hotel, Prince Howard of been behind the death of the motorcyclist.

The detained suspects during police investigation said they were instructed by Mr. Howard to brutally kill their victims early Tuesday morning, September 29, 2015 in Ganta.

According to our Correspondent in Ganta, the Police detachment in the County has been arrested and detained Mr. Howard for his alleged linked to the murder of the motorcycle.

Our Correspondent further said angry motorcyclists have looted and burnt to down the residence of Mr. Howard, while police have barricaded the Alvino Hotel owned by the accused.

Some of the angry motorcyclists who spoke to our Correspondent alleged that the accused is always noted of performing ritual through the making of human sacrifices for wealth.

Youthful Prince Howard owned the most beautiful hotels in the County.

Detail will follow in our subsequent posting.

Source: Liberia: Top Nimba County Businessman Links To The Murder Of A Motorcyclist

And another article:

Curfew imposed in northern Liberia after ritual killings spark protests

Published: October 1, 2015
Reporting by Alphonso Toweh and James Harding Giahyue; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by James Dalgleish (Reuters)

Ganta, Nimba County: Angry residents went on the rampage demanding justice

MONROVIA (Reuters) – Authorities imposed a curfew in a town in northern Liberia after violent protests following a wave of suspected ritual killings, authorities said on Wednesday.

Residents of Ganta on the border with Guinea said protests began after the killing of a motorcyclist on Wednesday. That came just a day after the discovery of the body of a 13-year-old girl who had disappeared weeks earlier.

A local police commander said one person was killed and several were wounded in the protests, in which several properties were destroyed. Government officials in Monrovia did not confirm the death.

“We will not hesitate to bring to book anyone in connection with this violence,” Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh said in a national address. He said six people had been arrested for their part in the protests.

The girl’s death was the most recent in what is believed to be a years-long string of ritualistic killings in the area that have been blamed by local residents on politicians and businessmen seeking political power.

Though relatively rare, cases of ritual murders have been recorded in several African countries, with body parts sometimes used in ceremonies believed to confer supernatural powers. Children are particularly sought out as targets.

Residents said violence erupted after two people who were arrested for the girl’s murder said a local businessman had hired them to perform it.

A police spokesman said that rioters also broke into Ganta’s police station and released 22 prisoners. He said the businessman has been arrested in Banga in the centre of Liberia.

Source: Curfew imposed in northern Liberia after ritual killings spark protests

And another article:

RITUAL ABUSE IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: Psychological, Forensic, Social and Political Implications Kindle Edition by Randy Noblitt (Editor), Pamela Perskin (Editor)

Published: October 1. 2015
By: Child Abuse Blog

Allegations of ritual abuse are universal and mental health professionals, theologians, law enforcers, scholars, victim advocates, and others struggle to comprehend the enormity of the devastation left in the wake of these heinous acts. Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-first Century addresses the concerns that naturally evolve from any discussion of this phenomenon from the perspectives of professionals, advocates, and survivors from around the world. How valid are the survivors’ stories? Is there evidence? What are the consequences of these acts to the individual and society? Why have these allegations been ignored or discredited whenever they have surfaced? The authors of these chapters respond to these and other questions in an effort to illustrate the constellation of psychological, health, legal, criminal, societal, and spiritual ramifications of ritual abuse.

Amazon’s Look Inside allows readers to preview the first three chapters:

Chapter 1: Rituals: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Noblitt

Chapter 2: Redefining the Language of Ritual Abuse and the Politics that Dictate It
Noblitt & Perskin-Noblitt

Chapter 3: Exploring Commonalities Reported by Adult Survivors of Extreme Abuse: Preliminary Empirical Findings
Rutz, Becker, Overkamp, & Karriker
http://www.amazon.com/RITUAL-ABUSE-TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY-Psychological-ebook/dp/B01134QYLK/

Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-First Century: Psychological, Forensic, Social and Political Considerations

Allegations of ritual abuse are universal and mental health professionals, theologians, law enforcers, scholars, victim advocates, and others struggle to comprehend the enormity of the devastation left in the wake of these heinous acts.

Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-first Century addresses the concerns that naturally evolve from any discussion of this phenomenon from the perspectives of professionals, advocates, and survivors from around the world….

The authors of these chapters respond to these and other questions in an effort to illustrate the constellation of psychological, health, legal, criminal, societal, and spiritual ramifications of ritual abuse.

Chapters address current issues including ritually based crime, civil suits involving allegations of ritual abuse, that are universal.

The value of understanding ritual trauma for diagnostic and treatment applications is discussed.
http://rdrpublishers.com/products/ritual-abuse-in-the-twenty-first-century-psychological-forensic-social-and-political-considerations

Curfew imposed in northern Liberia after ritual killings spark protests
Source: Reuters – Thu, 1 Oct 2015

MONROVIA, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Authorities imposed a curfew in a town in northern Liberia after violent protests following a wave of suspected ritual killings, authorities said on Wednesday.

Residents of Ganta on the border with Guinea said protests began after the killing of a motorcyclist on Wednesday. That came just a day after the discovery of the body of a 13-year-old girl who had disappeared weeks earlier….

The girl’s death was the most recent in what is believed to be a years-long string of ritualistic killings in the area that have been blamed by local residents on politicians and businessmen seeking political power.

Though relatively rare, cases of ritual murders have been recorded in several African countries, with body parts sometimes used in ceremonies believed to confer supernatural powers. Children are particularly sought out as targets.

Residents said violence erupted after two people who were arrested for the girl’s murder said a local businessman had hired them to perform it….
http://www.trust.org/item/20150930215054-ekn5g/

Source: Ritual abuse in the twenty-first century

Another article:

Boy, 17, get life sentence
Published:
By: Franklin Doloquee, Nimba, Edited by Jonathan Browne
The New Dawn

17-year-old Jacob Vanboe, convicted of murder (left) and the corpse of the late Cephus Yeanwon (right)

Jacob Vanboe was sentenced for the murder of Cephes Yeanwon

The Eight Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie, Nimba County has sentenced a 17-year-old boy to life imprisonment for killing his 16-year-old friend, Cephus Yeanwon.

Convict Jacob Vanboe, a resident of Ganta City, in Nimba was sentenced after he cajoled his 16-year-old friend Cephus Yeanwon, a motorcyclist, to go for a ride with him along the Ganta-Saclepea Highway in Nimba County in order to get some palm wine, a locally produced beverage to drink when he murdered the victim and extracted parts from his body.

The convict on September 22, 2015, conspired and murdered Cephus Yeanwon. Both Jacob Vanboe and the late Cephus Yeanwon were resident of the Royal Community in Ganta prior to his murder. The deceased corpse was discovered four days later between Blohn and Wallah towns along the Ganta-Saclepea Highway.

Reading the final verdict at the Eight Judicial Circuit Court, Resident Judge Emery Paye said, the decision was in keeping with an unanimous guilty verdict brought down by the grand jury besides evidence adduced by prosecutors during the trial.

However, the life sentence for a 17-year-old boy has sparked debate in Ganta with some residents arguing that Jacob Vanboe could not had been braved enough to act alone, and that there may be some conspirators hiding somewhere, who should equally be brought to justice.

Residents are calling on the Liberia National Police and other state security to investigate further and bring all those connected with the crime to book. Following the verdict, the 17-year-old convict wept and pleaded for mercy as he was being taken to prison.

Source: Boy, 17, gets life sentence

Ganta is the capital of Nimba County, Liberia