2 ‘Witchcraft’ Suspects Mobbed to Death in Ganta

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Accused of being in possession of human skeleton, an angry mob beat two suspects to death, while a third is being treated at a medical facility in Ganta.

1 critically injured

Commercial activities in Ganta City, Nimba County came to a standstill on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, when some angry residents reportedly attacked three people suspected of ritualistic killings, while they were being escorted to Police headquarters for “interrogation.”

The citizens’ mob action, according to reports, resulted to the death of two of the suspects, while the other one, who was eyewitnesses, was ‘flogged severely’ is admitted at a health center in the city under intense pressure. The crowd had accused them of being in possession of human skeleton. Police had yet to verify the information when angry crowd reportedly took the law into their own hands.

Up to press time last night, police were yet to make any arrest, but Ganta Police Detail Commander, Adolphus Zuah, who confirmed the information, said he has dispatched officers to the crime scene to investigate the matter.

“I don’t know what went wrong before the suspects were mobbed to death. I heard the taxi cab they were traveling on broke down, and so the crowd came against them,” Zuah said via mobile phone. “I only heard that a police undercover agent in Saclepea, central Nimba, was escorting three suspects from the district to Sanniquellie, the county political capital, when a commercial vehicle they were riding on broke down, thus giving rise to marauding gangs to mob two of the suspects to death, while the third person was severely wounded.”

Commander Zuah said two of the police officers that were among other unarmed officers dispatched to quell the situation sustained wounds from the angry crowd that were reportedly using sticks, stones and any deadly objects to wound and eventually kill two of the suspects.

The crowd, according to Zuah had claimed that the accused individuals were suspected of carrying on ‘heartmen’ activities (ritualistic killings), but the allegation was yet to be substantiated when two of them were mobbed to death.

Also, confirming the information, the head of the county police Criminal Investigation Division (CID), James Katoe, said the suspects were reportedly mobbed to death by “some suspected criminals; some of them on police wanted list.”

The deceased suspects, Katoe said, were being escorted by police from Saclepea to Sanniquellie, the county political capital, for questioning in connection to the report of ‘heartmen’ activities, when they were attacked in Ganta.

“As we speak, I am on my way to Ganta, and will give you detailed information [on Thursday]. Up to now, we don’t even have the case file to establish the identities of the suspects and what are their respective charges,” Detective Katoe informed the Daily Observer via mobile phone.

Meanwhile, up to press time last night, Ganta has remained heavily guarded by the presence of a contingent of police officers from a garrison of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) stationed at the Bong County Security Hub.

The ERU officers are being dispatched to maintain calm in the wake of the hostilities in the commercial city of Ganta which, according to one account, had forced some of the business centers to close, while residents were warned to leave the streets.

7 COMMENTS

  1. It seems that witchcraft/wizardry is omnipresent in Liberia. In recent weeks, Liberian citizens in towns and counties where the witches are exposed, usually miscarry the law. Sometimes while doing a mob action arrest, (an act which is illegal) the suspects get publicly spanked in the nude or mortally wounded. We all know that iit is wrong for evil to be perpetrated on the innocent. Yet ritualistic killing is on the rise. For sure, the witches, wizards or socerers must be kept in check.

    The big question is “where is law enforcement”?

    • Liberia is sinking back into the medieval time – when people were accused and killed for witchcraft activities without investigation.No matter what the crime is, a suspect must be protected by the law until found guilty. We are handling out ultimate punishments without investigation. Suppose those killed were innocent, would you bring them back to life? The other guy who survived the beating should have been taken to the hospital first but I see ordinary citizens interrogating him while he bleeds. Geez!!, what have we become these days?

  2. The new LNBA President Counselor Gongloe has been religiously proactive in offering pro bono legal services and since a major role of the organization is providing “legal education and information for the public”, I’m confident that the threat of undeterred vigilante justice will claim his attention. Perhaps, an effective presentation for funding to the appropriate sector of any major international institution could support LNBA’s outreach nationwide to curb it. Unquestionably, this won’t substitute policing responsibilities, but definitely ensures another resource. Just a food for thought from one concerned citizen to another.

  3. Accusation of being a ‘witchcraft’ is a death sentence? No one life should end this way. Well, this is how it is, in Liberia!
    Recent development in the news regarding witchcraft accusers being killed by mobbed, is growing. We have lots to worry about than accusing individual of being a ‘witch’. Something which has no base of truth.

    I want the Senate to pass a bill criminalising mobbed and vigilante actions of any kind. Any individual/individuals, group of people found in the act, should face justice.

    Liberia is old with broken institutions, that need to be strengthened: education, commerce, infrastructures, security etc.

  4. Hi Bah,.
    I wrote a letter to you approximately two weeks ago, using the University of Sidney as your address. I hope it’s been received.

    Hanf in there.

  5. Liberians are beginning to see what illiteracy and backwardness can do to a nation. The images depict a country that is stuck in time or the age of the barbarians.

    It will be an overstatement to compare Liberians to the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea – a subregion of the lost continent of Oceania, where the natives have absolutely become impervious to civilization or minimally accepted civilization.

    One factor that accounts for this upsurge of savagery is the 14-year unprecedented civil war that bred the culture of impunity that the country is witnessing today.

    Moreover, the dubious and mysterious murders of our citizens whenever they stick their necks out to speak against the political corruption or the financial mismanagement of the country are not helping either.

    Whenever a perception creeps into the collective psyche of the citizenry that the powers that be are themselves orchestrating heinous crimes within the society that they lead, it sets the stage, or it re-enforces a very dangerous behavior especially among people with criminal tendencies. For them, taking the law into their hands by committing felonious offenses is a norm of the Liberian society.

    They see their public officials doing it and getting by with it. And so, they feel that they can do it and get by with it too.

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