Twenty-five-year-old William Swen (a.k.a. Aquoi) was electrocuted on Saturday night when he attempted an illegal connection for a neighbor, identified only as A.B. in Nyuapanton, near New Kru Town, Monrovia.
Swen’s body hung from an electric pole, as hundreds of people from the community streamed past to cast a glimpse at the hanging corpse.
Neighbors told the Daily Observer Sunday, January 19,that it was about 10p.m. Saturday, January 18, when A.B. along with three others, including two men identified only as‘Mulbah’ and ‘Billy,’ visited the victim and woke him from sleep.
“I told him not to follow behind A.B,” said Tina, the distraught pregnant girlfriend of the deceased as she explained the sad tale to the Daily Observer Sunday. “He did not listen to me.”
A next door neighbor said, “I heard them negotiating the payment. Aquoi asked for US$20 and A.B. said he would give him US$10, which he refused.”
She said due to A.B’s persistence, they reached an agreement and Swen finally agreed to go along withthe unidentified A.B., who is said to be a Sierra Leonean.
“Aquoi locked me inside our room and took the keys and his mobile phone along with him,” Tina said tearfully.
In spite of the Daily Observer’s investigation, there still remains conflicting information about events leading up to the tragedy.
Another resident told this paper that police had arrested a man who had attempted to make an illegal connection on the same pole that electrocuted Swen.
“The people in the area begged the officer and he was given a bribe of L$500,” the witness said, though this could not be confirmed.
However, a man who gave his name as Augustine, a next door neighbor of the deceased’s, denied that Aquoi had been arrested by any member of the Liberia National Police.
“I was here when the three men came and A.B. pleaded for Aquoi to go with him and do the connection,” Augustine said.
The Daily Observer also learned that sometime in November , last year, a friend of Aquoi’s—identified as ‘Nakata’— suffered a similar fate.
At the family’s residence in New Kru Town, the deceased’s mother, Martha Swen, sat in mournful disbelief while she was surrounded by tearful family members.
The deceased left behind a one-year-old son from a previous relationship, as well as his girlfriend Tina’s unborn child.
The Daily Observer also learned that the deceased was a member of a pool of workers who were trained by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) but could not be absorbed into the workforce.
Elder Dessaline Siehka
Seahjue told the Daily Observer that “The absence of job opportunities is responsible for young people risking their lives. Swen died because someone called him to do them a favor.”
“How did Swen get the tools to climb up the pole? Those tools are not sold in any store in Liberia. Since he was trained by the LEC which could not employ him, he was used by others until he eventually met his premature demise.”
Another elder in his 60s, Bill Anderson, said, “The LEC does not immediately respond to calls when the community needs an emergency job done. These long delays have created room for people like Swen to stand in as ‘replacements;’ the result is his tragic death.”
At the LEC offices on Bushrod Island, a source who begged for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the LEC, said, “We have a procedure to respond to consumers’ calls. We deal with thousands of customers on a daily basis; hence the delay. That does not mean, however, that someone should engage in illegal activities and destroy their lives and the lives of those around them.”
Meanwhile, the charred remains of Swen were cut down by a team of LEC workers at 10:21a.m., on Sunday morning, in the presence of officers of the LNP and the victim’s family.