‘Ritual Killings’ Spark Riot in Kingsville

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Armed police on the scene in Kingsville Number 7 Community and fired several rounds of ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, who retaliated by throwing stones at the police.

Angry residents block Kakata-Monrovia highway, as Police fire live rounds to disperse crowd

Number 7 Kingsville, Montserrado County, was a scene of rioting on Monday, June 24, 2019 when aggrieved citizens of the town gathered and blocked the main road from Red-Light to Kakata in demand for justice for two boys, Elijah Porluma, 9 and Thomas Kollie, 10, who were reportedly abducted and later killed allegedly for ritual purposes early this month.

It began without violence during the morning hours when local residents blocked the traffic in what they said was an attempt to draw the government’s attention to perceived injustice given what they see as the lack of appropriate Police response to the killing of the two boys; later, it turned violent when a few officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) sent to contain the situation began using force to disperse the demonstrators to restore the free flow of traffic.

The demonstrators were holding aloft placards bearing inscriptions that read, “We want justice,” as they occupied the middle of the road with themselves and abandoned pieces of timber and metallic objects used to set up the roadblock.

According to eyewitness accounts, the police at first spoke to the aggrieved residents to allow the free movement of vehicular traffic, but they refused.

“If we will die like the children who were killed, we will die; but we cannot leave this place until justice is done,” they declared.

Following the failure of the Police to convince the protesters to disperse, they regrouped and advanced towards the protesters in a tactical move, which succeeded in dispersing them. As the LNP officers attempted to remove the roadblocks, they were greeted by a hail of stones and other flying objects, which provoked the discharge of firearms (AK-47s) using live ammunition.

“While responding officers of the LNP were trying to remove the road blocks and illegal checkpoints from the Kakata Highway,” said a statement signed by LNP director of public affiars, H. Moses Carter, “they were stiffly resisted with stone throwing protestors and the use of other dangerous weapons including steel rods and petrol bombs which resulted in the injuries of three residents of Kingsville including: Saah Saah, 18, Dave Mombo, 18, and Abraham Tumba, 17 years old, all of the same community. Also, two officers, namely: Insp. Morris Dahn, and Sgt. Gbornimah Barmabia sustained head and leg injuries. Those who sustained injuries are said to be responding to treatment at the Du-Side Hospital in Margibi County and the John F. Kennedy Medical hospital in Monrovia.”

An eyewitness report says one person identified as Abraham Smith was shot dead in the incident, while another suggests that he was instead shot and severely wounded in leg but was not killed. Both reports are yet to be independently confirmed. It was, however, confirmed that a stone hit one of the police officers and he was seriously injured in his face.

The LNP says it has “launched an immediate joint investigation comprising the Professional Standards Division (PSD) and the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to probe into reports of shooting. The public can be assured that any officer found culpable in the unconventional use of lethal weapon will be made to face the full weight of the law.”

After hours of rioting, the few police officers left the scene thus, leaving the aggrieved residents in total control of the road until some senior police officers accompanied by reinforcements from Monrovia arrived and contained the situation. This led to resumption of the flow of traffic at about 2:56 p.m.

Fayiah Dumbo, an elderly man living in Number 7, explained that early this month the two boys, whose brutal killing sparked the riot, were abducted and taken to the bush at the outskirts of the town and were killed on land belonging to another resident he did not name.

“They took the two boys, one 9 and the other 10, down the town in the bush and killed them. The doers skinned one of them and cut the private parts, and they took the nose, lip and one eye of the other boy along with his kidneys,” Fayiah said.

According to the LNP statement, the bodies of the two children were discovered on June 3, 2019 in the bushes of Kingsville, Montserrado County, after they were sent on Thursday, May 30 and Friday, May 31, 2019 by their parents to sell but did not return home and were declared missing.

When the corpses of the victims were discovered, Fayiah said forensic examinations were done and four persons were arrested that included three prime suspects and the owner of the land on which the bodies were discovered. He explained further that the three arrested suspects, all men, were released and residents expressed concern that their release was done by the police and not the court.

“The police people came and gave us a paper that the bodies should be buried and that was done, but the three people are freed without facing justice in the court except this old papay who is still in jail because it is behind his house the act was done. This is why we are here today because we want the three men rearrested to face justice in the court and not the police to decide,” Fayiah said.

Fayiah said they will only be content if the men go through court trial and exonerate themselves, but their release from detention without the court’s mandate constitutes injustice and they will not stop their protest action until they can get redress.

According to him, ritual killing (otherwise known as heart-man activity) is rampant in their town and, when it happens, the government (police) usually claims the lack of sufficient evidence as a basis to drop charges against suspects involved in ritual killing.

“I have spent 15 years here, and since I came there have been many heart-man cases that ended like this,” he said.

The riot in Number 7, Kingsville, is the second of such violent incidents recently on this trunk of paved motor road leading to the country’s interior. It can be recalled that on April 1, riot broke out between the police and aggrieved residents of Weala over ritual killing and the police depot was burned while the house of the accused was damaged in part.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Liberia is not Sudan , Liberia is not Venezuela and Liberia is not Somalia, said the Chosen Son of the soil that was elected by the citizens of the soil. Well Sudan must be laughing. Venezuela must be laughing. And Somalia of all places as the home of terrorists, Somalia too is laughing at a regime and its leadership that cannot control a handful of citizens as protesters in a roadblock but had the audacity to condemn them and compared their political situations to a protest of less than two hundred people . One death at the hands of the Liberian authorities and fifty deaths at the hands of the authorities of Sudan, Venezuela and Somalia equal the same political violence that is claiming lives. Since no one wants to die just for the politics of political correctness. So just what is so irritating to the authorities of the police and the regime about roadblocks ? The political correctness about freedom of movement ? Or that there are no other roads open to the public ? Or that the only road being used by the protesters leads directly to the house of the regime ? What is so irritating about that ? This is a common occurrence the world over about protecting and roadblocks. Unless officials of the regime do not travel , which is a lie . Or the irritating aspect is a copycat from the North Korean regime that does not allowed any protest at all. That the Liberian regime seemed to be uses to .About half a million people protested in Hong Kong just last week. No death of any citizens, but arrests were made. But the leader of the regime just recently reminded his citizens that Liberia is not Sudan , Venezuela or Somalia. And that Political participations at all levels with the citizens are perfect and peaceful. Was he lying ?

    • To compare Liberia to Somalia or Venezuela is a ridiculous invention of realities; whereby the author named all the other people that he quoted but failed to identify and name the informant who gave him the death news/story; and that he the author on the overall branded the report to be contradictory and unconfirmed.

  2. Unless the alleged shooters weren’t police officers, discharging live rounds around unarmed people who don’t pose physical threat to anyone is reckless use of deadly force. Because of Margibi County’s recent history of vigilante justice, the apt response should’ve been overwhelming police presence and arresting of ring leaders. Of course, it presupposes Security Sector ought to have had intelligence assets in place to help identity instigators and ring leaders.

    It brings me to the elephant in the room: Mistaken belief of Rep. Kulubah that making terroristic threats is activism. When a Rep. behaves as he does with encouragement from the same journalists and politicos who nicknamed Qwinwonkpa “Strongman”, what do we expect from poor people in the county. Folks, rooting to destroy Mama Liberia to fix her is Quixotic; EJS, with VIP contacts in every major capital on Planet Earth, failed. That’s what got us in the suffering, after all.

  3. It is you with your security advised to SKD that landed us in this mess! When you people permitted him to use his heavy handed tactics on unarmed students at the University of Liberia students on August 22, 1984 and many more. John Stewart, why was he not capture in your so-called TRC report, that you are now blaming the causes and consequences of the crises in Liberia on her, while Sylvester Moses is enjoying himself in America and our children are called Zogoes.
    GMW,is now creating causes for another uprising,the consequences will be blamed on someone else and not looking at the roots of the problems. So Gbayahforh,be warned.

  4. Ritualistic killings are still prevalent in Liberia today. And as far as my memory can go, the late William VS Tubman executed some True Whig Party officials from Maryland County sometimes in the 70s because they participated in this very barbaric practice.

    What is exactly the motivating factor behind this heathenism remains a controversy. However, one noticeable correlation about this practice is that in the past some ritualistic murders happened during times of impending and hotly contested elections, especially when there were political infighting within the ruling class.

    Not much about ritualistic killings were heard under Tolbert’s administration. Maybe because he wasted no time when he took office by immediately hanging a score of individuals, who had committed heinous crimes during the Tubman’s administration and so their executions sent a message to the Liberians that he was going to be very tough on crimes in general.

    When Samuel Doe dethroned the TWP oligarchy and ushered in a new era, the talk about ritualistic murders became more pronounced. Ritualistic murders took on an exo-cannibalistic form particularly during the civil war. Unofficial documentation states that one tribe would kill individuals who were considered prominent in other tribes and extract certain body parts either for consumption or the making of black magic talisman. This act would enable them to acquire the greatness of those individuals.

    The kidnapping and murder of these boys just to acquire their body parts comes at a time when some congressional seats are at stakes and when the Council of Patriots has announced that it will stage another demonstration again if the president does not meet its demands. So is the new insurgence of ritualistic killing under Weah’s watch a desperate attempt by some power driven maniacs within his administration to tighten their grips on power?

    Or, are the murders meant to send yet another message to the public at large from President Weah that he will waste no time in giving his shoot-to-kill orders if anyone attempts to stage marches again?

  5. Gbada J. Harris,

    You will stay long hiding from your father’s name, because of shame of being identified with the rubbish you continuously spew in defense of the dozen years of kleptocracy. By the way, although you can’t think, read, or write critically, point out one sentence in my comment which suggests that I’m encouraging GMW to commit human rights abuses.

    Frivolous fawning fools like you know that Ellen wanted to be President and relentlessly (1985 and 1989) stoked a civil war that killed a quarter million people, even allegedly ordering the murder of LAP’s Jackson F. Doe. But as beneficiaries of her waste and robberies of the nation’s wealth, you guys don’t want her name to be mentioned in the economic mess the country is undergoing: Bloody nonsense!

  6. Charley Price,

    As it relates to which president ordered the hanging of ritualistic killers who carried out widespread killings in Maryland county, I am certain it was Mr. Tolbert, not Tubman. Although Tubman was aware of such killings, he did absolutely nothing to stop it. Tubman’s refusal or inability to stop such killings caused the eyebrows of many Marylanders to be raised.

    Ritualistic killings must be stopped at all cost. But, in order to have it stopped, the use of deadly force by law enforcement must be curtailed or completely stopped also. It is uncivil for protesters to be brought under control by using live bullets. I hope that the cops will refrain from the use of deadly force henceforth.

  7. Heart-man business will never end in this nation. From Tubman’s time where this satanic activity actually gained recognition as part of some rich man’s nasty deed to today, Liberia has been riddled with this wicked and ungodly act, and the blood of the unfortunate cries for justice to its maker, God since regime after regime fail to go to the bottom of this nasty act. I call continual fire of judgment upon this nation by reason of the silence of authorities of the day and authorities past. May God who sees all and knows all fight against all who fight against the innocent souls of Liberia Who are looked up as “goats or sheep” waiting to be sacrificed at any time. May evil slay the wicked, as God’s word proclaim and may all whose hands are part of this helkish business perish on their own blood. One day, one day judgment will manifest. With all the So s killed during our senseless war, people are still paying homage to Satan with the blood of the innocent. Holy Ghost Fire!!!!!

  8. Again, this is the dilemma that Liberia faces. are we just a reckless people or are we a people who has no regard for law and order? and yet, we talk about moving forward.

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