A ‘country devil’ that is reportedly controlling the forests of Gbarpolu County with parallel authority to the Government of Liberia, has reportedly ‘swallowed’ (abducted) an officer of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) assigned in the county, identified as Alphanso Leyadopoe Dennis.
Dennis is believed to be in his early sixties.
Though LIS authorities offices in Monrovia are yet to speak to the reported abduction of its officer in Gbarpolu, Dennis was reportedly ‘swallowed’ by the country devil in the county a fortnight ago when he allegedly refused to abide by the ‘devil’s’ order demanding all non-members of the Poro Society to remain indoors until otherwise announced.
By tradition, those who are not member of the Poro Society are not allowed to see the country devil it emerges from the society bush. Any non-member caught exposed to the country devil is considered also exposed to the secrets of this Society. The consequence of such exposure is that the non-member will be “swallowed by the devil” — abducted into the Poro ‘bush’ for forced initiation.
The Poro, which is led by the country devil, is a men’s secret society that is practiced in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and La Cote d ‘Ivoire as introduced by the Mande people. It is sometimes referred to as a hunting society and only males are admitted to its ranks. The female counterpart of the Poro is the Sande society, which among other things, practices the female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision.
One LIS personnel, who spoke to this newspaper on the basis of anonymity, said Dennis was picked up recently when he came out of his house to attend to nature at night, while the ‘devil’ was on foot patrol.
Our source said that the officer came out that night with his son, who also was attending to nature’s call, when the incident occurred, but did not say whether his son was also ‘swallowed’ by the devil.
The abducted LSI officer was assigned as commander in Forkpah Town with jurisdictions over several towns and hamlets, including Beleh Kpallamue and Martumakolleh, all in the Gonwailala District.
And as a result of officer Denis’s abduction, there are reports that joint security officers, among them some LIS personnel who are non-Poro members, but who were assigned at the Beleh Kpalamue Check Point, have reportedly abandoned the post due to the persistent presence of the ‘Country Devil’ which has allegedly terrorized the residents.
Locals believe that leaving the post without any security officer rendered the entire environment vulnerable and or prone to criminal activities, as it was prior to the officers taking assignment there.
The country devil’s activities have become so serious in the area to the extent that some of the Poro members leave the ‘bush’ to besiege the main road, something which the locals said is intimidating and instilling fear for non-Poro residents.
“We have filed numerous complains to the District Statutory Superintendent, but his response has been that the issue of country devil is culturally-related, therefore, nothing can be done about it,” one of the local leaders said.