Barziwen Town, Zorzor District – When a group of women and men went on a fishing expedition on the Larwor River – a couple of minutes away from Barziwein Town, Lofa County – they killed an alligator. But that catch has caused a certain apprehension amongst hundreds of locals.
Report by Arthur Kowah, [email protected]
Because of the circumstances surrounding the killing of the alligator, they informed leaders of the towns including the town chief, general youth leader, chief advisor, and Chief Zoe.
Alligator is amongst wildlife that has extreme traditional importance in rural Liberia because of its gallbladder.
According to the customs of the town, whenever an alligator is killed, authorities of the town and nearby towns are called to publically witness its butchering and subsequent destruction of the gallbladder.
The gallbladder is said to be very poisonous, and should therefore publically be destroyed.
Upon receiving the news of the killing of this alligator, these influential citizens, 14 of them in number (10 men and 4 women), allegedly took the alligator to a secret meeting place where they butchered and shared it among themselves without the knowledge of the public.
What caused the issue to spark public concern was the mysterious disappearance of the gallbladder.
When the news about the killing of the alligator and the subsequent mysterious disappearance of its gallbladder spread like wide fire across Zorzor district, the 14 suspects were arrested and taken to Zorzor City for questioning by the District Commissioner Hon. Joseph Bedell.
“They said they put it in the toilet. We burst the toilet open but the maggots there are still alive, how possible is that?”, Commissioner Bedell lamented.
After the commissioner’s interrogation of the 14 persons, they were released to go back to Barziwen town.
The released of the 14 people then sparked tension amongst citizens leading to some unknown men setting the Zoe house ablaze on the night the suspects were released.
Threats continued from citizens especially the youth, who vowed to also burn down the homes of the 14 people if nothing is done to find the missing alligator gallbladder.
The ‘alligator gut’ is very toxic and it is believed to be used to poison victims. The poison is said to be introduced into the wine or other drinks of the unsuspecting victim by dipping the finger or nail where a small amount is placed.
The unfortunate victim is supposed to die within 24 hours or less.
Currently, citizens of the Barziwen and surrounding towns are in utter fear as the whereabouts of the alligator gut remains unknown.
“Even the other people in the other towns here….I have some development projects that we supposed to have a meeting about. But they said unless I take the meeting to another town like Nekebuzu or Medina, they say they will not come to Barziwen,” said the Commissioner.
Meanwhile, the office of the commissioner has commissioned a traditional oath taking for the 14 suspects. The ritual was expected to take place on the 29March 2019 has been delayed due to some procedural errors.