Burial sites should be protected and kept sacred.
However, at the Palm Groove Cemetery on Center Street, in Monrovia, an “organized gang” has engaged in digging-up and selling steel rods taken from tombs of the dead.
As a result, hundreds of family members who are preparing to honor the deceased on Decoration Day next Wednesday, March 12, will find it difficult to identify the graves of their loved ones due to their desecration by these grave-robbers who break into them scavenging for “valuables.”
The second Wednesday of March each year was set aside by an Act of Legislation, as a national holiday to enable family members and friends to remember the dead by cleaning their graves.
As things stand, those celebrating this year’s Decoration Day will be greeted with disappointment. This is owed to the fact that almost every tomb at Palm Groove Cemetery, including that of the late Momolu Dukuly, first indigenous Secretary of State—the post now known as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia— was violated.
Our reporter, who visited and toured the graveyard, said he saw graves looted and skeletons removed from their caskets scattered on the ground.
Some of them (skeletons) were brunt to ashes.
Besides, employees of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) were seen brushing the cemetery in preparation of Decoration Day.
In an exclusive interview, Edward Jarbah, supervisor of MCC, put the total number of destroyed graves to 75 percent.
“My brother, let me tell you the truth! 75 percent of these graves have been damaged; with everything from steel rods and casket taken out,” Jarbah explained in tears.
“What attitude is this? How could these people treat the dead with such indignity? This does not happen in other countries,” the MCC supervisor lamented.
He was quick to blame the act on the lack of security and electricity.
“The reason is that government fails to provide security. They have failed to electrify the area. What do you expect?” Jarbah wondered.
He suggested that the only thing that would curtail the practice is to deploy armed security officers to mend the place.
“The grave is now serving as sleeping place for the criminal and the only thing that would prevent them from entering into it is to deploy armed security officers,” he further suggested.