The family of Daily Observer correspondent Micah Yeahwon is still anxiously waiting to hear from him since he left his Gbarma, Gbarpolu County residence on October 15, after casting his vote and covering last month’s elections.
Neighbors and family sources said Mr. Yeahwon visited the polling stations in Gbarma and surrounding communities and was excited to send stories about the events to the Daily Observer.
“On October 10, the day of the voting,” said wife Gaima Kokulo, “he had a badge around his neck and went all over to witness and collect information.” That badge she mentioned was the National Elections Commission’s (NEC) accreditation issued to media institutions to observe the October 10 presidential and legislative elections.
Mr. Yeahwon wanted to leave Gbarma for Monrovia a few days after the voting on October 10 but because he did not want to miss any information, he delayed and left for Monrovia on October 15.
According to Siaffa Jallah, who owns the “MEN SUFFER WOMEN ENJOY” business that deals in scratch cards, cell phone charging and money exchange, Mr. Yeahwon was in good spirits and was excited, like everyone in the community of about 1,000 residents, about the outcome of the elections .
“He is a good man and Micah had no problem with anyone in this community and that is why his disappearance is a mystery to us,” Jallah said.
There seems to be no apparent reason for his disappearance and many local residents, including staff of the administrative office where the Ministry of Justice is located in Gbarma, don’t know what to make of it. Gbarmah Town is composed of the old city and the new one, otherwise known as Barracks, where previously the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) stationed its soldiers. Though Gbarma Town is yet to benefit from any road network or a recreational center, among other amenities, the people seem to be satisfied with their lot, though they hope for infrastructural development.
The town has a considerable number of young people but Siaffah Jallah complains that they spend their time, not on their farms, but in video centers and dabble in politics. “As a result, many roam about and it was the reason that burglary was at one time prevalent in the town,” he said.
For instance, in August this year, robbers broke into the residence of Siaffah Jallah and made away with LD50,000 and four mobile phones, belonging to customers.
Of course the increase, according to Jallah, was also due to the removal of a checkpoint, previously manned by immigration officers to Sawmill Town, the next community to Gbarma Town. “We hope that we would have the checkpoint restored in the future so that it can help to put in check any future crimes,” Jallah said.
Gbarma Town is a community where everyone knows everyone and hence what affects one also affects all. Police sources in the community complain of scarcity, with mobility as the main concern. “On Friday, there was a report of rape and because police officers here are not mobile they borrowed a motorbike from an international non-governmental organization but the mike was involved in an accident,” said another resident with information on the scarcity in the town.
Micah Yeahwon is a teacher at the Gbarma Central High School and a student at the University of Liberia, according to Joseph W. Kokulo, brother of Garmai Kokulo, who is Yeahwon’s partner and has a child with him. Ms. Kokulo has several other children who she says love Yeahwon as a father.
Joseph Kokulo was unable to give a wild guess as to what could have happened to Yeahwon neither was he able to give any motive or speculation that he might have been killed by someone. “I don’t know anything he might have done and therefore there is nothing I can imagine about his disappearance,” he said.
Yeahwon was admitted to the University of Liberia and attended classes at the Fendall Campus, near Mount Barclay and therefore to make his commute flexible he rented a place in Mount Barclay where he would spend his weekdays and return to Gbarma at the weekends.
“Anytime he was in Mount Barclay he would come to us in Pipeline and before he would leave for Gbarma, he would come and let us know,” said Benedict Dahn, son in law of Garmai Kokulo, who resides in Pipeline, Paynesville yesterday.
According to Joseph Kokulo, who resides in Gbarma which was confirmed by his sister Garmai, after Yeahwon left Gbarma, they tried to contact him on his mobile phone without success. “It was strange we could not hear from him and therefore after some time, my sister decided to go to Mount Barclay, near Monrovia to find out.
“When she got there she found Yeahwon’s room ajar and things there scattered about the room. She did not find his phone in the room.
“When she contacted the landlord, she learned that the day before, Yeahwon was at the house and he wanted to offer one of the residents a drink. She declined because she said she did not drink.
“She said Yeahwon later asked her fellow tenant to get water for him to take bath, which she did but later in the morning they found out that Yeahwon did not take the bath, his room door was open and his things were scattered all over the room.”
Garmai said she has been going from one place to another. “Somebody told me he saw him in Duala but when I went there I did not find him,” she said.
In a voice filled with sadness, she said: “I don’t know where to find Yeahwon.” Lately, information came that Yeahwon had been spotted in Yekepa, Nimba County, and the family was expected to send relatives to Yekepa yesterday. But the questions that bother the family are: if it is true that he is in Yekepa, why has he not contacted them and why was his room left in disarray with the door unlocked?
For the meantime the family waits anxiously for any information that could lead to Micah Yeahwon’s whereabouts and request that anyone with information should contact the nearest police station or the following numbers:0777-334-132 (Varflay); 0886-485-917 (Benedict); 0888-214-693 (Jomah) and 0886-854-453 (Comfort).
Micah Yeahwon originally is from Yarwin Mehnsonon, District #9, Nimba County.