4 Arrested for Murder in Nimba

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Buutuo border checkpoint (L) and the-web.jpg

Officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) assigned in Nimba County have arrested four persons for their alleged involvement in the recent mob action that resulted into the brutal killing of a murder suspect who was in custody at the police station in Buutuo.

Those arrested were identified as Edward Kielap, 51, Alex Gondor, 38, Stephen Monwoan, 32, and one Jonathan, 31.

The suspects were arrested in connection with the incident which occurred in Buutuo near the Liberia La Cote d’Ivoire border on Monday, February 23.

Police sources told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that the four suspects were arrested by officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU), who were immediately dispatched to Buutuo shortly after the incident.

On Monday February, 23 some residents of Wea-Beeplay in Buuyao District hurriedly divided themselves into at least five small groups (all men) and instituted a mob justice that led to the death of a murder suspect, Chester Goankeuh, in a police cell in Buutuo.

Those involved, according to our correspondent, reportedly acted in retaliation for the death of their kinsman, Emmanuel Bowyah, who was allegedly killed by a man identified as Chester Goankeuh on Sunday night, February 22, during a scuffle around Frolay Town, Nimkwai Chiefdom.

The reason for the scuffle in which Emmanuel got killed is yet to be established, but family sources close to deceased Goankeuh informed this newspaper via mobile phone that on that fateful Sunday, around 7 to 8 p.m., Goankeuh left the home of his girlfriend (not identified) in the nearby village to purchase some clean rice for her.

Eyewitnesses said while Goankeuh was in the middle of his journey, he reportedly came across three men, who allegedly flashed a light in his face and immediately the fighting reportedly ensued.

During the fight, an eyewitness recalled that Chester Goankeuh “acting in self-defense,” reportedly stabbed one of his assailants, Emmanuel Bowyah, who later died.

“The late Chester also sustained a deep injury in his groin from the scuffle,  but he managed to escape and reported himself to the police in Buutuo, while the other man who was with the late Bowyah reportedly fled to an unknown location,” witnesses said.

When news of Bowyah’s death reached Beeplay Town, a group of residents immediately mobilized and armed themselves with machetes (cutlasses) and sticks and boarded several motorbikes bound for Buutuo.  There, they reportedly overpowered the only two police officers that were assigned at the police station and mobbed Chester to death in the police cell in apparent retaliation for the death of Bowyah.

There are two police officers assigned in Buutuo, controlling the entire Buu-yao Administrative District which comprises about 58 towns and villages with a population of over 70, 000.

The Police Crime Services Department Commander in Nimba, James Q. Kartoe, has meanwhile confirmed the death of at least two persons and the arrest of four in connection with the mob violence.

The four suspects, all residents of Beeplay, were arrested by the PSU and are being interrogated at the Sanniquellie Police Station, said Kartoe.

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