Prince Johnson Shifts Blame on Gov’t for Ganta Violence

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Senator Prince Y. Johnson: “I am not afraid because I know I am a free man and will remain a free man.”

According to Nimba County Senator, Prince Y. Johnson, if the Liberian government was responsible for the recent violence in the county, which resulted in the burning of homes and business establishments, then the government is in the wrong.

Senator Johnson then went on to blame the recent violence in the county’s financial hub of Ganta on the failure of the government to bring to justice the perpetrators of the alleged ritualistic killings of peaceful citizens in the county.

“The delay on the part of the government to institute justice serves as a recipe for conflict. If justice fails to prove guilty the masterminds of ritual killings of our citizens, it is unwise for security officers to move in (through) violence, (instead of) investigating its immediate cause,” said Senator Johnson.

He made the comment via mobile phone on a local radio station in Sanniquellie over the weekend following the Ganta riot.

The September 30 protest in Ganta brought the city to a standstill as peaceful residents watched demonstrators vandalize residential homes and business centers.

The Senator was, however, quick to clarify that while he condemns the acts of violence that were carried out in Ganta by some individuals, it is also important for the government to strengthen its justice system to ensure that alleged killers of innocent citizens for alleged ritualistic purposes are arrested and prosecuted.

He also blamed the recent violent protest on the persistent “mysterious killings” of Nimba citizens for supposed ritual sacrifice purposes by suspected individuals that are yet to be arrested by the state.

He recalled the 2013 “mysterious killing” of a motorcyclist, whose corpse was discovered in Ganta near the LMPC Community Bypass; the death of one Jacob Vanmoore, who was reportedly slaughtered in Bluon Town, Saclepea, Mah District, on September 27, and; the September 30 incident in Ganta, which witnessed the alleged murder of a motorcyclist, as indicators that fueled the recent violence in Ganta.

According to him, people suspected of having links to those “mysterious killings” are yet to face justice which, if not addressed, Senator Johnson believes, could lead to recurrences of the recent violence in Ganta.

Senator Johnson called on the county leadership, headed by Superintendent Fong Zuagele, to ensure that every town in the county where officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) are not deployed organizes “vigilante groups” to protect the residents against the practice of ritualistic killings and other forms of violent crimes.

In a related development, Senator Thomas Grupee of Nimba County and Supt. Zuagele have also joined their voices to those who had earlier condemned the violent demonstration in Ganta.

While the two county officials agreed that it was wrong for some of the residents to go on the rampage, they both called on the government to institute a speedy investigation into the death of a motorcyclist, which prompted the demonstration, and a series of other reported mysterious deaths of citizens in the county.

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