21 March 2019

Liberia: Two 'Witchcraft' Suspects Mobbed to Death in Ganta

1 critically injured

Commercial activities in Ganta City, Nimba County came to a standstill on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, when some angry residents reportedly attacked three people suspected of ritualistic killings, while they were being escorted to Police headquarters for "interrogation."

The citizens' mob action, according to reports, resulted to the death of two of the suspects, while the other one, who was eyewitnesses, was 'flogged severely' is admitted at a health center in the city under intense pressure. The crowd had accused them of being in possession of human skeleton. Police had yet to verify the information when angry crowd reportedly took the law into their own hands.

Up to press time last night, police were yet to make any arrest, but Ganta Police Detail Commander, Adolphus Zuah, who confirmed the information, said he has dispatched officers to the crime scene to investigate the matter.

"I don't know what went wrong before the suspects were mobbed to death. I heard the taxi cab they were traveling on broke down, and so the crowd came against them," Zuah said via mobile phone. "I only heard that a police undercover agent in Saclepea, central Nimba, was escorting three suspects from the district to Sanniquellie, the county political capital, when a commercial vehicle they were riding on broke down, thus giving rise to marauding gangs to mob two of the suspects to death, while the third person was severely wounded."

Commander Zuah said two of the police officers that were among other unarmed officers dispatched to quell the situation sustained wounds from the angry crowd that were reportedly using sticks, stones and any deadly objects to wound and eventually kill two of the suspects.

The crowd, according to Zuah had claimed that the accused individuals were suspected of carrying on 'heartmen' activities (ritualistic killings), but the allegation was yet to be substantiated when two of them were mobbed to death.

Also, confirming the information, the head of the county police Criminal Investigation Division (CID), James Katoe, said the suspects were reportedly mobbed to death by "some suspected criminals; some of them on police wanted list."

The deceased suspects, Katoe said, were being escorted by police from Saclepea to Sanniquellie, the county political capital, for questioning in connection to the report of 'heartmen' activities, when they were attacked in Ganta.

"As we speak, I am on my way to Ganta, and will give you detailed information [on Thursday]. Up to now, we don't even have the case file to establish the identities of the suspects and what are their respective charges," Detective Katoe informed the Daily Observer via mobile phone.

Meanwhile, up to press time last night, Ganta has remained heavily guarded by the presence of a contingent of police officers from a garrison of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) stationed at the Bong County Security Hub.

The ERU officers are being dispatched to maintain calm in the wake of the hostilities in the commercial city of Ganta which, according to one account, had forced some of the business centers to close, while residents were warned to leave the streets.

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