Alleged Ritualistic Killings in Liberia: False Alarms Or Poor Investigative Skills?
MONROVIA — It appears that the combat against alleged acts of ritualistic killings and kidnapping which have widely been widely reported in Monrovia and other parts adjacent in recent times are far from being thoroughly investigated, culprits arrested and prosecuted, as evidenced by the Minister of Justice Counselor Frank Musa Dean accusing those raising alarms of reportedly failing to aid investigations.
Liberians and other foreign residents in the country continue to wake up to news of kidnapping and the gruesome murders of citizens, especially females in few communities in Montserrado County on a regular basis.
Parts are extracted from the remains of the victims by the unknown perpetrators for ritualistic purposes.
The current situation has instilled fears in Liberians and foreign residents, compelling them to return from their various working and selling places earlier than before.
It has also raised questions and doubts over the ability of state security actions to provide security to Liberians and other foreign residents.
Not showing up
But responding to an inquiry from FrontPage Africa over the week end, Cllr. Dean pointed out that most of those claiming to have been kidnapped have not been coming forth to help the police with investigations.
He made specific reference to one Solomon, who claimed to have been allegedly kidnapped from Caldwell and taken to Gbartala, Bong County.
Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue recently informed the public that the information provided to the police by Solomon was false and misleading.
Phone records which were subpoenaed by the police show that the alleged victim never left Montserrado County all during his alleged kidnapping tale.
According to the records quoted by the IG, Solomon was in Clara Town, Vai Town, New Kru Town, among other places, throughout during his alleged ordeal.
Opposing Pastor’s request
Cllr. Dean pointed out that since raising the false alarm, Solomon has not shown up despite efforts applied by state investigators to request his Pastor, who was not named, to convince him to do so.
“This guy has refused to come forward to aid the police investigation. We summoned his call log. On the day he should have been in the custody of kidnappers in Gbatala, the call log placed him in Dixville and New Kru Town. We contacted his Pastor to bring him in. He is not cooperating with his Pastor”.
Last week, the Liberia National Police arrested a stalwart of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Jethro Saylah Kangar Harris, for allegedly spreading misinformation of ritualistic killing on Facebook.
FrontPageAfrica gathered that Kangar had reportedly posted a picture of a young girl alongside a picture of an open corpse on an autopsy table.
“I’m in tears tonight. It’s so painful how the young people of Liberia are dying mysteriously. This is the late Rolisa N. Gbeintor, alumnae of the Lenn Millar High School. She was murdered and parts of her body were extracted. She had dreams; she had a great future ahead of her but there she lies dead without understanding how”, Harris posted.
Karnga was arrested in Ganta, Nimba County while on a tour with the ANC’s standard bearer, Alexander B. Cummings. He has spent days behind bars.
Family not identified
But Cllr. Dean latest response to the reported death of Rolisa appears like no formal complaint has been made by the family to the LNP.
“We are searching for the parents and family members of Rolisa Gbeintor, who was supposed to have been gruesomely killed”, Cllr. Dean stated.
Another kidnapping story
In another video that went viral on the social media last week, a young lady claimed that she was allegedly kidnapped by a bike rider and another passenger while on her way Red Light to buy her goods.
According to the unidentified lady, a white handkerchief was used by the passenger who sat at her back and she was taken around the Coca Cola Factory Community in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
She claimed that while her face was tied with a black cloth, she was placed in a black jeep and taken to an unknown destination.
“I saw myself in an unfinished building when they took the cloth from my face and I saw five other women that they kidnapped too. They started to carry them one, one in the slaughter room. I could only hear ‘my people your come, God come for me…they are talking this other parts from on me oh. I was the fifth person and when they carried me in the room, I saw the other table and they had different, different instruments for human parts. They put me on the big table and tore my blouse on me, took off the trouble but my woman sickness (menstruation) was on me”.
“They said but how your bought this chicken here; your know the chicken looking like this and we can’t use it for sacrifice so your put the chicken back outside. That’s how they took me down from the table and carry me back in the room. The other woman too had the same woman sickness on her. So, they said they can’t make sacrifice with us so, let just keep them here and in the night we can go dump them by the wayside. They tied our faces from four in the evening Tuesday with the same black cloth and drove us on the road back in the night. We only saw ourselves in front Coca Cola factory”, the unidentified lady stated.
The lady added that she later decided to take the complaint to Zone 5 in the same area, but since then, she has not been called for further questioning.
But according to Cllr. Dean, the lady in question has not shown up for further investigations since she provided her initial statement at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on the Capitol Bye-Pass in Monrovia.
He further doubted the possibility of a slaughterhouse being in the densely populated suburb of Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
“From the day this girl came to the Police Headquarters and provided her initial Statement and said she was going to the doctor to return, she has gone underground. Even her family cannot locate her. Where are the families of the slaughtered people? A human slaughter house in Paynesville, such a populated area?”
Will prosecute PLP suspended SG
Meanwhile, Cllr. Dean has pointed out that the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice will formally charge and prosecute the suspended acting Secretary General of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP) for illegally possessing and discharging firearm.
Executive members of the Organizing Committee of the PLP suspended the acting Secretary General of the party, Mr. David Woods Beyan, for lying that he was shot by unknown armed robbers, after the police preliminary investigation proved otherwise.
It can be recalled that Mr. Beyan, who is also a founding member of the PLP, claimed that around 3AM on Friday, September 24, 2021, he was shot by unknown armed men for unspecified reasons while on his way home from Kakata, Margibi County where he had reportedly gone on a party function and to attend a family meeting
He told FrontPage Africa via telephone that he noticed two motorbikes carrying four persons tailing him from Mount Barclay and while In the middle of the Parker Paint road, one of the riders reportedly crossed in front his vehicle with speed.
Mr. Beyan claimed that he later got down from his vehicle, in an attempt to compel the bike rider to remove his bike. He was later overpowered by the men and shot on his left thigh.
“They had mask on their faces and I couldn’t recognize any of them. After one of them shot me, they got on the motorbikes and escaped. Right now, I am still feeling pain in my thigh” he told FrontPage Africa via telephone from his hospital bed.
But Cllr. Dean pointed out that the victim shot himself.
His clarification corroborates with information provided by IG Sudue when he appeared on State radio on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.
Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue disclosed that Mr. Beyan
told nurses assigned at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center where he had gone for treatment that he mistakenly shot himself in the leg, and the firearm used has been retrieved.
“This guy shot himself. He carried a weapon he did not know how to operate. We will prosecute him for illegal possession and discharge of firearm” Cllr. Dean stated.
The growing wave of reported kidnapping and ritualistic killings across Monrovia and other parts of the country continue to instill fears in citizens and foreign residents
In Monrovia and other parts adjacent, the streets appear like a “ghost town” and are partially empty as a result of the situation.
Marketers, workers and others are often seen in a hurry during the early evening hours, abroading commercial or private vehicles, tricycles and motorbikes to reach to their respective homes or destinations in a timely manner.
Owners of various businesses, including shops, stores, and supermarkets are constrained to shutdown far sooner than their usual closing times due to the growing wave of insecurity in the post-conflict nation.
It remains unclear whether or not fears of the growing wave of insecurity in Liberia will continue to grapple economic activities or the free movement of citizens and others as state security actors continues to allow those raising alarms to cajole them by giving or falsifying stories that would allow them to escape from investigations.
State actors’ failure
The failure of state security actors, particularly investigators of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to implore additional skills to unearth the truth behind some of these reported kidnapping and ritualistic killings or intensify efforts to hunt and bring forth for investigations those involved or accused remain a major problem confronting the security sector.
On the other hand, the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministries of Justice and Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism has not been able to swiftly and adequately respond to videos or photos on kidnapping and ritualistic killings before it goes viral on the social media by critics of the regime, who normally share those videos or photos to satisfy their political or ulterior motives.
This continues to hamper and paint the image, particularly the security condition of Liberia bad to the outside world, especially foreign investors contemplating on coming into the country to do businesses.