Early Sunday morning people in the capital, Monrovia, awoke to the terrible news that a certain band of individuals were going around spilling formaldehyde in wells in the general vicinity, beginning in the Roberts International Highway area in Margibi County.
There are those who believe it is not formaldehyde but some other highly poisonous substance being used to contaminate the wells.
Early Monday morning there was commotion at the New Georgia Junction on Somalia Drive when a man or group of men was spotted putting unknown substances in wells with syringes.
The first story was immediately reported by the state-run Radio ELBC.
When the Daily Observer reporting team went to Zone 8 near ELWA Hospital junction, they were told to proceed to police operations further up the Robertsfield Highway, because the people poisoning the wells had first been spotted in the Margibi area not far from the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
Indeed the Daily Observer web site carried early Monday the photograph of a man who had been arrested for allegedly putting substances into wells in the Margibi area.
The Observer web site also reported that 10 persons had died in Dolo’s Town along the Robertsfield Highway; and later that another 20 or more people had perished after eating food at a repast in the town. The site carried photographs of the incident, including that of a dead dog which had also been poisoned.
But there were two developments that, in the midst of all this, created serious suspicion: ELBC, which had first broken the story, back-tracked on it, saying that it was a “mere rumor.” The suspicion intensified when it was later learned that the National Traditional Council of Chiefs had gotten involved in the investigation, taking it over from the police. Now for Heaven’s sake, what do traditional chiefs have to do with a criminal investigation? This very serious and alarming matter should be in the hands of professionally trained criminal investigators working for the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and, given the reports of so many dead, the entire Joint Security.
But the back-tracking by ELBC and the alleged sudden involvement of the Traditional Chiefs in the investigation have raised alarm bells as to what is really going on. Is this something far bigger that it appears? Who is behind it? Is this a new form of ritualistic killings, only on a massive scale as the elections approach? Are there higher-ups involved? Who are they and why do they want to traumatize the already Ebola-terrified Liberian people?
The man arrested on the Robertsfield Highway was quoted as having said that he was not alone in this criminal and murderous adventure. “We are many more, about 250 of us, who have been well trained to carry out this exercise,” he was said to have revealed.
It is indeed mindboggling (unbelievable) that in the wake of the Ebola epidemic, anyone would want to inflict upon the hapless Liberian people another deadly menace, such as pouring poison into the people’s sources of drinking water.
What on earth is the motive? Is it a ritualistic exercise feeding the ruthless ambitions involving higher ups seeking or consolidating political power? Or is it politically motivated by detractors to destabilize the country in order to force regime change?
And why are the Traditional Chiefs involved? What business do they have to do with this criminal investigation? Do they know the people involved in these wicked deeds? Is there any connection between them and the suspects?
With people dying from poisoned drinking water, and reports of other marauding murders intent on poisoning more wells to kill more people, it seems to us that this is a very serious matter that demands the immediate intervention of the Ministry of Justice and the entire Joint Security Force, including UNMIL, to get to the bottom of this new deadly menace that has befallen the already Ebola-traumatized national landscape.