Monrovia — House Speaker Bhofal Chambers has appealed for “understanding and calm” after protesters swarmed Plebo Sodoken District and Harper on March 31 in a demonstration over the killing of a 22-year-old motorcyclist, Mordecial Nyemah.
The protesters stormed the prison facility in Plebo Sodoken District and broke through, leading to the escape of 91 Inmates, and also vandalized the police deport, destroying essential documents. The motorcyclist’s death was the most recent in what is believed to be a years-long string of ritualistic killings in the county that have been blamed by local residents on politicians and businessmen seeking political power.
Residents said the violence erupted after one person who was arrested for the motorcyclist’s murder said a local businessman hired them to performed the act.
The government imposed a curfew in the county after the protest.
Speaker Chambers, whose house was also set ablaze during the protest, in a statement released by his office, denounced the killing of the motorcyclist but said people shouldn’t resort to violence.
The Plebo Sodoken District lawmaker said Liberians should never use violence as a means to draw attention or settle disagreements, but should always find recourse through the law to settle differences.
“Our people (residents of Maryland County) had good intent to bring a resounding attention to their local authorities and national government, but their intent was undermined by violence and destruction perpetrated by a few miscreants and dangerous elements within the group,” Speaker Chambers said.
“The gruesome murder of the young Nyemah, does have a semblance of ritualism which must be totally abolished in Maryland County and all of Liberia,” Speaker Chambers added.
Last week’s violent protests, Speaker Chambers said, reflect negatively on the image of residents of the county.
“We urge all of our people bent on the perpetration of such diabolical cultural practice to cease and desist. In this vein, we have come to categorically condemn this sub-human practice for it has no place in the standing of our today’s Maryland,” he said.
“We therefore want to assure all of you of our commitment to support the government in investigating, prosecuting and applying the law in its fullness in order to deter future occurrence.”
Speaker Chambers then appealed to government to prioritize the prosecution of those involved in the murder of motorcyclist Nyemah, before focusing on the acts of vandalization and destruction of properties in the cities of Pleebo and Harper, including the destruction of his personal residence.
He also thanked President George Weah for his decisiveness in taking a hands-on approach to restore calm in Maryland County. “Now that the President has imposed curfew in Maryland County, I crave the indulgence of all persons within the territorial boundaries of Maryland County to abide by the requirements set forth for the enforcement of the curfew,” he said.