Liberia: Town Chief, Seven Others in Court for Death of 25-Year-Old Man

Karnplay Police Depot

The Liberia National Police has forwarded to court a town chief and seven others in Nimba County for the death of a 25-year-old man, identified as Franklin Gehmie.

According to police in Nimba, Geaplay Town Chief, Peter Torh is being held for doing nothing while his townspeople beat the deceased “mercilessly” in his presence, resulting in instant death. 

Gehmie, a student of the Nimba University and resident of Karnplay, Nimba County, was "brutally killed" after citizens of Geanplay beat him to death after accusing him of being a rogue on grounds that he was in their town to steal cattle.

Karnplay and Gehmie are two of the several towns that form part of the Gbeh-lay-Geh administrative district and are just a few miles apart. 

As a result, after his death in mid-April, citizens of Karnplay Town moved into Geanplay and allegedly set ablaze several houses as well as destroyed other properties — leaving police to be deployed to the hostilities, which they eventually brought under control. 

However, after several weeks of investigation, the Crime Services Division of the Nimba County detachment of the Liberia National Police has now charged Geaplay Town Chief Torh and seven other men for the death of Gehmie. 

The police had earlier arrested  22 people for interrogations but later released 15 who were declared innocent.

But the remaining eight men, including the Town Chie Torh, 52, were all charged and sent to the Sanniquellie Magisterial Court on charges of murder, criminal conspiracy, criminal facilitation, and other crimes. 

Of late, Nimba County, Liberia’s second largest, has been going through a crisis of lawlessness. 

Just last year, communities in Kparblee Administrative District were at loggerheads over snail hunting, leaving one person dead and several properties destroyed. 

Solomon Gaye lost his life after a quarrel broke out when the people of Bah town went hunting for snails in the forest boundary between Bah and Buutuo. This led to an exchange of gunfire.  He and four others got hit by a bullet during the gun battle between the two villagers who were armed with a single barrel gun each.

However, the 42-year-old Gaye from Bah town was the only casualty. He died Instantly from his bullet wound. Three of his fellow residents of Bah town were seriously wounded, while the opponents from Buutuo sustained one injury.  

The incident, which happened in Kparblee Administrative District, lower Nimba County, also led to hundreds of people from both towns being homeless for a few hours due to the sounds of gunfire, as well as the destruction of thousands of Liberian dollars worth of properties. 

It also led to people fleeing into the bushes and nearby communities with their personal belongings.

And just a few weeks ago, a lady in the same Kparblee District stabbed her friend to death for boyfriend, leaving two communities — New Yourpea and Behwalay to go at loggerhead — which resulted in houses from both sides vandalized in Behwalay.

The lady in question who killed her friend has escaped to the Ivory Coast and remains at large to this day.