Liberia: 31 Persons Arrested in Connection to Maryland Violence
Plebo, Maryland County — Thirty one persons who were arrested for rioting in both Pleebo and Harper in the aftermath of the death of 22-year-old Mordecial Nyemah have been charged and sent to court, police have announced.
They were charged Thursday, April 8 for robbery, arson, attempted murder among others, and were later remanded at the Zwedru Palace of Correction awaiting court trial. Police said they were transferred to Zwedru because the prison in Harper was vandalized during last week’s riot.
“We are hoping for change of venue for the both cases to Grand Gedeh to be trial there during the May Term of court,”Cllr. Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh,Assistant Minister for Litigation Ministry of Justice said.
“We now await the homicide case and investigation to be concluded shortly.
I am currently in Maryland to ensure that a special Grand jury is set up to indict those two groups if individuals,” he added.
Nyemah’s death was the most recent in what is believed to be 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 student’s murder said a local business man hired them to performed the act.
House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, whose house was also set ablaze during the protest, in a statement released by his office last week, denounced the killing of Nyemah, 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.