Man robbed for phone and stabbed to death on his way to church
Violent clashes erupted in the Pottery Market community of Red-light, Paynesville City on Sunday morning, August 4, 2019, when an angry mob of community residents, market sellers, and passersby set out to kill some street thugs (Zogos) for allegedly stabbing to death a man who was on his way to church.
The deceased, later identified as John Flomo, is believed to be in his forties and is a resident of Johnsonville.
The incident that led to the burning down of several criminal hideouts turned the main road that linked Pottery Market and Pipeline community into a warzone for several hours until the intervention of riot police.
Moses Dolo, who claimed to have to be on the scene when the riot started said, a Zogo crept out of his hideout and rushed on John Flomo and snatched his phone, while the victim was trying to pay a commercial motorcyclist.
”While the man was trying to take his phone from the Zogo,” Moses explained, “he was stabbed on his right shoulder with a rusty iron and he fell to the ground. That was how few other zogos emerged from behind a nearby zinc shack to help their colleague escape with the man’s phone that may have cost only about US$10. After they left, people who the area took the man to the Tony Clinic located in the Pipeline community, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Later that same morning, the Zogos also attacked an early woman at the same spot and made away with her L$24,000. That was how the angry crowd started attacking them.”
From the clinic, Mr. Flomo’s remains were deposited at the Alfred N. Butler Funeral home located at FDA Junction in Paynesville.
Moses said people are living in the community in fear because the main road is a “no-go zone” during the late night or early morning hours. He said the Sunday morning incident is not the first instance in which zogos were killed by community dwellers. However, the Sunday incident only intensified the community’s anger and resolve to resist being terrorized daily by the street thugs.
“When zogos are killed, the attack rate reduces for a short period. After one or two weeks, they (zogos) return to their regular attacks,” Moses said.
As the situation intensified, community dwellers and some women who make their living by selling in the Red Light market gave separate accounts about how they, in recent times, have been robbed in the early morning and night hours while on their way in or out of the community.
Ma Deddeh Flomo, 60, told Daily Observer that while on her way to sell potato greens, she was attacked by thugs at the same location where the man was killed. “They put their hands in my clothes and took my US$14 phone that I purchased four days before the incident with L$1500,” she explained. She said she felt lucky that her phone was all they took and that her life was spared.
Oretha Bedell, 43, said people in the community are tired being attacked by these criminals on a daily basis. According to her, there is a need for speedy intervention by the government because, she alleged, the police assigned to that community are also doing drugs with the zogos. Madam Bedell, who has lived in the community for the past 12 years, said in recent days the crime rate has increased, leaving residents and business venerable.
“I will not be afraid to say this: the police can get high with the zogos. Let me die for saying the truth, but we are suffering in this nation from bad people in the police pretending that they are protecting lives and properties,” Bedell said.
Meanwhile, the riot police were able to successfully bring the situation under control while the Ministry of Health emergency medical service, in two different Ambulances, picked over seven wounded zogos at various points of the community for treatment.
The angry mob chased the zogos from Pottery market to as far as Baillie Call Christian School around the Parker Paint junction.