18 March 2017

Liberia: Police Reports Three Mob Violence Killings in Bong County in One Month

Gbarnga — The Bong County Police Detachment says three suspected criminals have been killed in the county as a result of mob violence in less than one month.

The Commander of the local Crime Services Department, John Kelenso Flomo, told the Liberia News Agency that those killed are Emmanuel Yarkpawolo, alias Deaf Rogue, Siafa Fumbah and Charles Tokpah.

Inspector Flomo said Yarkpawolo was mobbed to death in the People Street Community in Gbarnga on January 31, Siafa Fumbah on February 7 in the Fareast Community, while Charles Tokpah died on February 24 in David Dean Town, popularly known as Gold Camp in Kokoyah Statutory District.

"Records in our possession show that the three are notorious criminals who have been arrested, charged, and sent to court on several occasions for different criminal offenses," Flomo stated.

The local CSD boss explained that Tokpah was charged with illegal possession of a single barrel pistol on January 11 and sent to court for prosecution.

He said the LNP was shocked to have heard of his death when Tokpah was expected to be facing justice. Flomo said "not a single" person had been arrested in connection with the deaths of the three men.

"Police investigations are still continuing, and we are appealing to our citizens to come with any information they have in connection with the deaths of these guys," Flomo emphasized.

On the morning of January 31, citizens rushed to a crime scene to view Yarkpawolo's lifeless body.

A group of women who claimed to have been victimized by him sang, clapped, and danced in apparent celebration of his death.

Unlike Yarkpawolo, Siafa Fumbah's mother and sister, as well as other family members were at the scene of his death, weeping over his corpse, which lay in a pool of blood.

Onlookers rushed to the scene to see the spectacle. Family members later took charge of Fumbah's body after Police examination.

Although most residents seem to support the deaths of the alleged criminals, as evidenced by views expressed on local radio stations and street corners, two rights activists in Gbarnga are concerned about mob actions that resulted in the men's deaths.

Aaron G. V. Juaquellie, National Program Officer of the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND), and Jesse B. Cole, Regional Coordinator of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), called for the trial of alleged criminals, instead of having them humiliated to death in such manner.

Cole and Juakollie suggested that the presence of criminals was a symptom of a larger societal problem.

They said young Liberians who are engaging in criminal activities are likely doing so as a result of "lack of opportunities or rehabilitation" programs for them.

They emphasized the need for the Police and other agencies to double their efforts in preventing crimes and safeguarding Liberians.

Cole and Juakollie said it was unfortunate for people to be killed for alleged criminal acts without being tried in court.

Liberia's penal code classifies mob violence as a crime punishable under the law, but in most instances perpetrators go with impunity because the State fails to prosecute perpetrators.

Liberia

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