-- Eminent citizens accuse men belonging to former Senator of causing havoc in county
Former Senator of Grand Cape Mount County, Victor Watson, has been accused by some citizens of the county of leading thugs on a marauding campaign, terrorizing towns and villages in the county for their refusal to reelect him in the December 2020 senatorial midterm election.
Residents claim they have eyewitness reports of Watson and his financier, Idrissa Massaley, a Sierra Leonean gold-miner, leading gangs in a series of reprisal attacks against those communities that did not vote for him in the election. Watson was elected Senator of Grand Cape Mount County in 2019 to complete the unexpired tenure of the late Senator Edward Boakai Dagoseh. But Dagoseh’s term expired in January 2021, after which Watson decided to seek re-election in his own right.
He was not successful.
Dr. Lyndon Mabande, an eminent citizen of the county and a son of Dambala Town, Porkpa District, in a statement read on behalf of citizens of Grand Cape Mount County, accused former Senator Watson and his financier of causing mayhem and havoc in towns and villages across the county.
“Watson and Massaley have been leading a group of thugs who have been wreaking havoc on our people. They have inflicted wounds on residents, some of whom have to be brought to JFK to seek medical attention. Watson’s groups have also been destroying private and public properties in those towns. He is practically uncontrollable,” Dr. Mabande said.
“The men of ‘Idrissa and Watson’ are marauding in towns in Cape Mount, causing havoc and upheaval by destroying homes, clinics, town halls, educational facilities and injuring and threatening people, local leaders, school administrators,” Dr. Mabande noted at a press conference in Monrovia.
When contacted, former Senator Watson was very brief in his response to our reporter’s inquiry. “It’s not true,” he said in reply to a text message inquiry about the allegations. He did not answer any phone calls from the Daily Observer.
However, 20 of the young men who allegedly carried out the acts were arrested by the police detachment of Cape Mount and are undergoing investigation but residents feel frustrated that their ringleaders, Watson and masasaley, are yet to be apprehended or called in for questioning.
“This has placed the people of Cape Mount in sustained and continuous fear for their lives and their properties,” Dr. Mabande said.
He noted that the pair (Watson and Idrissa) have been traveling around the county in a large convoy under the guise of thanking people who voted for candidate Watson while at the same time, using the opportunity to reinforce the belief that he (Watson), instead of Simeon Taylor, won the 2020 Senatorial election and the Supreme Court deprived him of that position.
Grand Cape Mount County was plagued with a leadership vacuum and under-representation since the December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial election in the county was won by Mr. Simeon Taylor, the candidate for the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
The election result was contested by the incumbent and Taylor’s archrival, Victor Watson, the choice candidate of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). But the situation was finally resolved in August when the Supreme Court declared Mr. Taylor as the official winner.
The citizens claimed that because of Watson's refusal to accept defeat, he and his financer are heard on a radio station owned and operated by Mr. Massalay, telling the people that the former senator Watson, is still the senator and he will not accept senator Simeon Taylor as the senator, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“On October 2, 2021, Watson and Massaley, without any regard to observing the norms and tradition for visiting towns, to be accorded the proper culture of welcoming, entered Damballa along with their tugs to the surprise of the citizens and their leaders, in their trucks, Jeeps, and motorbikes,” the citizens claimed.
Upon the orders of the pair who also drove in the convoy, the group of men, estimated at about one thousand in number, all clad in red berets and red headbands, began unleashing havoc by throwing stones indiscriminately on roofs and windows of homes and public properties. Some women and children sustained injuries during this incident and had to be brought down to Monrovia for treatment.
“They further threatened to return and inflict more injuries and property damage and to kill the people of Damballa town and set the town on fire.”
The citizens say they are living in fear due to threats and are therefore calling on the government to immediately intervene so as to avoid further situations. They allege having seen single barrel pistols, machetes, and other deadly weapons in the possession of Watson and his financier.
“We are appealing to the government to take the matter seriously as any inaction will serve as a catalyst for Watson and Massaley to continue their acts of violence against the peaceful citizens of Grand Cape Mount County,” Dr. Mabande stated.