24 June 2019

Liberia: Police, Citizens Clash Over 'Ritualistic Killings' Near 15 Gate

Armed police arrived on the scene in Kingsville Number 7 Community and allegedly fired several rounds of ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, who retaliated by throwing stones at the police.

A riot squad from the Liberia National Police (LNP) descended with firepower on a citizens' demonstration against the alleged killing of two boys for ritual purposes. The demonstration took place around 12:00 p.m. in the Kingsville Number 7 community, along the Paynesville-Kakata Highway, in the vicinity of 15 Gate.

The boys, age 10 and 14, who were reported missing for several days in early June, were later discovered dead with body parts missing. Residents told the Daily Observer today that, upon discovery of their corpses, the private part was extracted from one of the boys and from the other boy, an eye was extracted.

According to an elderly resident of the Kingsville Number 7 Community, following the discovery of the boys' corpses, police arrested three "prime suspects", as well as a fourth -- an old man on whose land the boys were discovered. Later, according to the resident, police allegedly released the first three suspects on grounds of insufficient evidence, leaving only the old man in police custody.

Since then community members have been agitated over the apparent silence of the police on the matter, especially given the release of the three suspects. Therefore, Around mid-day today, they setup a blockade along the Paynesville-Kakata highway to call public attention their grievance.

Shortly thereafter, armed police arrived on the scene and allegedly fired several rounds of ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, who retaliated by throwing stones at the police. One person is said to have been shot dead and another wounded.

The boys have since been buried. Meanwhile, the roadblock was cleared by around 3:00 p.m. and residents of the community are currently meeting to determine their next course of action.

Details to follow.

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