Liberia: Fifteen-Year Old Teenager’s ‘Ritualistic’ Murder Sparks Massive Protest in Bong County
Gbartala, Bong County – Angry residents of Gbartala in Bong County have gone on the rampage in demand of ‘justice’ over the murder of a teenage girl identified as Sata Binda.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
Fifteen-year-old Sata was a sixth-grade student.
According to the protesters, since her body was discovered in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 16, nothing has been done by the police to establish the cause of her death or bring the perpetrator(s) to justice.
Our reporter said the victim’s lifeless body was still lying at the site where it was discovered more than 48 hours later.
Gbartala is notoriously known for being the place where former President Charles Taylor’s Anti-Terrorist Unit/Demon Forces (ATU) used to be trained.
It is several kilometers away from the county’s capital of Gbarnga.
The Red Light to Ganta Highway, the busiest route in the country, passes through the town.
Our reporter, who was on the scene on Monday, September 17 said the crowd, predominantly made up of young people, set up roadblocks on the main highway passing through the town from Monrovia. Their action left many commuters stranded for hours.
Our reporter said dozens of vehicles, public and private headed in opposite directions, were queued in Gbartala as the deadlock continued.
Protesters had placards and were shouting “We want justice; we need justice.” Another inscription read: “We will not stop until justice is done quickly.”
One of the angry protesters, Obediah Kollie, was seen urging his fellow protesters to have all government’s vehicles plying the route to be impounded in the town in order to grab the attention of relevant authorities.
“This is totally unacceptable. The little girl’s body can’t be discovered under such condition and nothing is said or done about it. It is going to almost two days since that girl’s body was found. We must block all government’s cars from passing. That’s the only way they will pay attention to us,” he vented.
“The police have not said anything. We don’t know how far they have gone with the investigation. They only came and checked the body and left.”
Another demonstrator, Moses B. Kollie, threatened to continue the blockade until the relevant authorities including the Ministries of Justice and Gender, Children and Social Protection as well as human rights groups can step in.
“We are giving them 72 hours to come up with their findings. Until then, we will stand in the vanguard. We will not be violent. We will not throw insults, or destroy cars and properties, but we will tie this road until the requisite officials come and intervene. Until then, there will be no going in and no coming out,” Moses vowed.
However, after intense negotiation by youth leaders of the county with the protesters, they agreed to temporarily remove the blockade, but threatened to return if no action is taken within 72 hours.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica in Gbartala, a representative of the Mano River Youth Parliament, Kusee Armstrong, indicated that the youth leadership of the county has launched a counterintelligence to assist the police with the investigation.
He told FPA that six persons have been arrested in connection with the murder and are currently in police custody undergoing investigation.
He cautioned his fellow young people of the town, to desist from any forms of violence and be ‘calmed and patient’ as the police investigate the ‘mysterious’ murder of the teenager.
“At the level of the MRU Youth Parliament, we are trying to mobilize the young people and persuade them to leave the road so that we can acquaint them with their basic rights and how to proceed in finding a solution for justice to be served,” he intoned.
Jutomue D. Mulbah, president of Bong Youth Caucus added, “We are calling on young people to leave the road and wait on the police investigation. Violence cannot solve the problem and it cannot bring about justice.”
Meanwhile, all efforts applied by this paper to contact the county’s police details, to get a response, was not successful.
In addition, Police Spokesperson Moses Carter was called to find how far the LNP had gone with the investigation, but Carter phone rang continuously; he did not answer, neither did he call back.
Carter also failed to respond to a text message sent to him.