MONROVIA – For two years now, the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Justice has failed to provide an update or release the outcome of an investigative report on circumstances that led to the mysterious disappearance of three young men who were hired by the Proprietor of the St. Moses Funeral Parlor to undertake a task in Bong County.
It can be recalled that on October 17, 2020, Robert M. Blamo, Jr, 29, Siafa Gbana Boimah, 34, and Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, 32, were reported drowned in a river in Fuama district, lower Bong County when a canoe they were allegedly riding capsized while returning to their respective homes.
They were reportedly contracted to do a “piece of job” at the Oriental mining company owned and operated by Mr. Moses H. Ahossouhe (Proprietor of St. Moses Funeral Parlour), and one Mr. Abraham S. Samuels. It was reported by Mr. Ahoussouhe that the three young men drowned.
But following a series of protests from a cross-section of citizens, including family members of the victims who doubted the initial report, the government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Justice launched a probe into the matter.
Newly appointed Liberia’s Solicitor General Cllr. Nyananti Tuah was the head of the investigative committee set up by the government.
Cllr. Tuah was recently appointed by President George Manneh Weah to replace Cllr. Cyrennius Cephus, who resigned his post weeks after he was sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department for alleged acts of corruption and subsequently suspended by the Liberian leader.
Since the investigation was launched by the government two years ago, nothing has been heard about it up to present.
The conspicuous delay by the government to release the outcome of the investigation, if any was conducted, compelled parents, relatives and others to stage a peaceful protest in Monrovia on Monday, October 17, 2022, demanding the release of the report.
They chanted anti-slogans against the government and held placards with inscriptions: “There was no drowning, where are our children, Minister Frank Musa Dean, stop the aiding and abetting; President George Weah, don’t you care about what we are going through; Enough is Enough;” , among others to mark exactly two years since their children and loved ones surreptitiously were missing.
They believed that authorities of the Liberian government, especially those from the Ministries of Justice and Internal Affairs have not been “telling the actual story” which led to the mysterious disappearance of the three men.
The aggrieved citizens petitioned the Government of the United States (US), through its embassy accredited near Monrovia, United Nations and ECOWAS, to call on the attention of the Government of Liberia (GOL) to render justice in the matter.
“Our country has disappointed us. It is a shame and pity that we have a situation where few of our children are missing for years now and our government and President are not able to say anything. Our President has not even spoken to this and we are totally disappointed”, Mr. Robert Blamo, Sr., father of one of the missing young men stated
He said multiple engagements with the Liberia National Police (LNP) and other stakeholders have not yielded any fruitful results.
He recalled that some officers of the LNP, as well as Public Defenders were taken to Bong Mines, and evidences were also presented, but the outcome and findings from the government concluded investigation have not been released.
“It took the Liberian government about 18 months to get call logs. Even for us to get the call logs, we have to go protest to the court before the court requested the GSM companies. The call logs are available to them.”
Mr. Blamo disclosed that family members of the missing young men will take the matter to the ECOWAS court if the government fails to prosecute Mr. Ahoussouhe and Mr. Samuels for the mysterious disappearance of their children.
According to him, the Proprietor of the St. Moses Funeral Parlour has been given preferential treatment since the case was reported to the LNP on grounds that he is reportedly working for the government.
Disappointed in Weah
“I am very much disappointed in the President that up to now, he has not said anything. He’s acting like real ‘bobo’. He is not speaking for us; he should come up and say or do something.. Where ever St. Moses took our children; he should go and bring them. They are not dead and we need justice,” one Madam Mercy Boimah stated.
Her only son, Siafa Gbana Boimah, was hired by St. Moses, but did not return up to present.
She continued: “The government has refused to give us justice and that’s why we have come to the US government because, they are the only people our government can listen to.”
“Since 2021 St. Moses took our brothers in the bush and today makes it two years now. The government is not giving us justice and so, we came to the US embassy to call our government attention because we want justice”, Hassan Kromah stated.
In a petition statement presented to the US government, the aggrieved families claimed that they have been denied justice by the Liberian government and as such, only the US government and other international partners can intervene to ensure that the matter is amicably resolved.
“We the families representing the Blamos, Boimahs, and the Gbeanquois want to inform the US embassy in Liberia, United Nations, ECOWAS, the International Community, the Liberian Senate, House of Representatives and the general public on our position following the alleged drowning of our three sons as claimed by Moses Ahossoule, Abraham G. Samuels and the LNP in Fuamah district, lower Bong County.”
Mr. Samuels is a senior officer at the National Security Agency (NSA) of Liberia.
They noted that it has not been an easy task for the families to work with the Liberian government to “get to the bottom of the matter.”
“As it has been widely spread that the families are not cooperating, there are facts and evidence that the families are still cooperating with this government to get the facts.”
While the message of the three men allegedly drowning was being reported on October 19, 2020, the petition recalled that the police were immediately informed about the matter.
It noted that on October 21, 2020, the police and the families journeyed to the incident scene which was reported to have “country devil”, but nothing of such was seen.
“But voice and video recordings were done on the scene and the police and families have copies. From that scene, we knew that there was nothing of canoe capsized and so, we came home and decided to get help through traditional means which led to the involvement of Chief Zanzan Karwor.”
Zanzan Karwor abandoned case?
Chief Karwor is the Head of the National Traditional Council of Chiefs and Elders in Liberia. He led a team comprising of the aggrieved families and others to the county when the incident was reported.
Though he reportedly made a request for the government, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to provide a permit to ensure that the missing young men were located, the traditional Chief did not further pursue the case for undisclosed reasons
The petition also reported the alleged assaulting and beating of their relatives and others during their peaceful protest staged at the St. Moses funeral parlour in Gardnesville, outside Monrovia.
The aggrieved families want the US government to intervene to ensure that the Liberian government provides justice in the matter.
The mothers of the missing young men, Mrs. Roseline Blamo, Madam Massay Corneh and Madam Gertrude Deegon, have been having sleepless nights since the incident occurred.
They have consistently maintained that there is no information or evidence to corroborate Mr. Ahossouhe’s claim that their children got drowned while allegedly attempting to return home during the night hours.
‘St. Moses’ claims innocence
Mr. Ahossouhe has regretted the alleged deaths of the three young Liberians, and dispelled rumors in the public that he used those he hired for ritualistic purposes.
He told reporters that the allegation linking him to the deaths of his staffers is false, misleading and untrue.
“Firstly, let me register my profound regret, profound sympathy for the incident that led to the disappearance by drowning of three energetic gentlemen who served as contractors to do a piece of job for my mining site in Bong County”.
He added: “I was only told that the canoe capsized and we lost these guys. I feel so terrible, very terrible up to present. I only want to appeal to the families, and to the general public what is said out there about me is not true. Those who know me will attest that I am no way associated with occultism, ritualistic acts. I am a businessman, a simple, professional businessman.”
However, the government has miserably failed to bring the matter to a logical conclusion.
The delay in the release of frequent updates on the status of the investigation continues to contribute to the high level of speculations and doubts in the minds of the families.
The aggrieved families believed that their children are being kept in a sacred place to be used for alleged “ritualistic purposes.”
They continue to reject the report release by the LNP that their sons drowned while returning to their respective homes.
Cllr. Nyananti Tuah faces an uphill task of providing either an update or the outcome of the investigation when he appeared before members of the Senate for confirmation upon their return from agriculture break.