Fear of “heartmen” activities have intensified in the northeastern part of Nimba County bordering the La Cote d’Ivoire. The alleged activities are hampering the free movement of goods and services, especially for women during this harvest period.
“Heartmen” are people who practice ritualistic killings.
When the Daily Observer reporter visisted the border point on November 10, he observed that residents of the area have begun strengthening the activities of the Communhity Watch Forum (CWF) by putting a precautionary measure in place for travelers passing through the town and strangers who would want to pass at night.
The CWF is a local-based group comprising mainly of youths who are helping the country’s justice system by coordinating their night watches with the Liberia National Police (LNP). They also monitor the movement of people and motorcyclists.
The exercise, according to the report, stemmed from the “movement of strange young men or people in the Gbehlay Geh District which is creating panic among the residents.”
Due to news of the unusual movements of unknown people in the district, the Motorcycle Union’s local branch has instituted a measure to ensure people traveling on motorbikes are identified.
In so doing, every motorcycle traveling from Loguatuo, near the Liberia/Ivory Coast border, to Ganta or other parts of Nimba County is being asked by the authority to go through the dispatcher’s booth and register, including information on their intended destination.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the alleged “heartmen” activities in the area, a one year, eight months old boy “mysteriously disappeared” in the center of Gbeh Kenlay Town near Loguatuo after his parents went to the farm to fetch wood.
Mr. Wonmenpia Sandii, Commissioner of Kpantiaplay Township, expressed shock over the missing child, adding that residents have been in search of the missing child for two weeks with no sign or trace of him.
“The child was left with his grandmother in broad daylight, while the parents left for their farm to get food and wood. But upon their return, the child was nowhere to be found, up to present,” Commissioner Sandii said.
He said since the child went missing, “We have applied all efforts to get him, but to no avail. But we will be meeting to decide on the next course of action.”
The issue of “heartmen” is rife in Nimba County, with reports of several missing persons found dead with parts of their bodies reportedly missing, while the whereabouts of others remain uncertain.
On July 7, a 7 year-old girl mysteriously disappeared in the center of Gbar Gwehlay, only to be found dead after the family consulted a witch doctor as weeks of frantic efforts to find her had failed.
In September this year, a motorcyclist went missing from Ganta, only to be found dead with some of his body parts reportedly missing. There was also a report in September concerning a 50 year-old man who mysteriously disappeared in Yarwin Mensonnon. He is yet to be located.
Police officers who visited the areas where “heartmen” activities are rampant are said to be helping the locals with investigations.