Liberia: Police Arrest 94 in Connection to Ganta Mob Violence

The crowd had accused the suspects of being in possession of human skeleton. Police had yet to verify the information.

Police in Nimba County with backing from officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) said they have arrested at least 94 people suspected of being among those that carried on violent activities that resulted to the deaths of two persons in Ganta City on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

The ERU officers were dispatched from the Gbarnga, Bong County Security Hub following the mob violence that disrupted normal activities in Ganta.

Ganta Police Detail Commander, Adolphus Zuah informed the Daily Observer via mobile phone that the arrest of the 94 suspects is in connection to the mob violence that resulted in the deaths of two persons.

Zuah added, "because of the volatile security situation, 69 of those arrested are already being transferred to Gbarnga in Bong County, while 25 others are being transferred to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County to remain detained at the county's Correction Palace awaiting court trial."

"As we speak, police have deposited corpses of the mob violence at a funeral home awaiting the arrival of family members," he said.

It can be recalled that commercial activities in Ganta City, Nimba County came to a standstill on Wednesday when some angry residents reportedly attacked three people suspected of ritualistic killings. The suspects were being escorted to Police headquarters for "interrogation."

The mob action, according to reports, resulted to the death of two of the suspects, while the third suspect, who eyewitnesses said was 'flogged severely' remains admitted at a health center in the city. The crowd had accused the trio 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. "I don't know what went wrong before the suspects were mobbed to death. I heard that the taxi cab they were traveling on broke down, and so the crowd came against them," Zuah said via mobile phone on Wednesday.

"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," he said.

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 mob their victims. 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."

In the wake of the mounting tension, Ganta has remained heavily guarded by the presence of a contingent of police officers from a garrison of the ERU that are being dispatched to restore sanity to the city.

Our investigation continues.

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