Gbarnga City, Bong County was a scene of shouting, pandemonium and crying when a 29-year-old man set himself ablaze at about 4 p.m. at the Phebe Parking.
Twenty-nine-year-old Papa Canmue, who reportedly said he was facing too much hardship, set himself ablaze on Sunday May 18.
According to eyewitnesses’ accounts, Canmue had bought a liter of gasoline, measured in a small mayonnaise jar, which the commercial bike riders in that area refer to as Musa, with the amount of L$100.
The eye witnesses told our Bong County Correspondent that they thought that Canmue intended using the gasoline in a motor cycle. But to their uttermost surprise, he poured it on himself and struck a match, which caught fire, setting him ablaze.
According to the bystanders, when they saw what had happened, they tried to extinguish the blazing fire, but the 29-year-old man began to run as they ran after him.
“He ran until the fire overcame him and he dropped rolling in the grass. By the time we reached him, the fire has already overcome the young and nothing else we could do,” one of the eyewitnesses explained.
Investigations conducted by this reporter established that Papa Canmue committed suicide for what he (Papa Canmue) termed as living in the bondage of economic hardship.
The information maintained that Papa and his family have since separated because of him not being able to provide for the home as the head.
“This young man and his family have always been in quarrel for the past three years on grounds that he could not feed his family,” a close neighbor told the Observer.
The investigations also indicated that Papa’s children are out of school as the result of him not being able to pay their school fees.
It has been said that the latest action by Papa was his second attempt at committing suicide. They said in April of this year, he had climbed in a coconut tree in an effort to fall from the tree and finish his life as a means of liberating himself from the repression of economic hardship, but he was rescued through the frantic effort of community members, who persuaded him to come down.
It is been speculated in many quarters of Gbarnga that that man was mentally unbalanced, while some are arguing that he was suffering from psychological problem.
Political pundits in Bong County are of the believe that the action by Papa Canmue to immolate himself is a clear indication that the country’s economy is not meliorating for the poverty-stricken citizens evidenced by the hike in the prices of the basic commodities on the Liberian market.
It can be recalled in March of this year a 33-year-old woman in Wainsue few miles away from Gbarnga committed suicide because of what she termed as over loaded with extreme hardship.
One of the bystanders said, “Whether Papa Canmue was unbalanced or not, let the Government of Liberia build vocational institutions across the country as another way of providing economic security for young people who do not have the opportunity to acquire tertiary education.”