Liberia: Families Protest at St. Moses

- demand bodies of missing children

The compound of the St. Moses Funeral Parlors was a scene of intense protest, not for the deceased staffs of the integrity institution here, but for three staff members who reportedly went missing and are fear dead.

Family members of the staffs now feared dead besieged the funeral parlor, which is near the Topoe Village along the Somalia Drive Tuesday, October 20, demanding that its proprietor, Mr. Moses Ahoussouhe to produce the three persons who, according to police are already dead.

The protest comes as Pathologists hired by the Liberian Government are performing autopsies on the remains of three staffers of the Liberian Revenue Authority and the head of the country's Internal Audit Agency who all died under mysterious circumstances.

The spokesperson of the aggrieved party Lovettee Johnson says their friends and brothers in persons of Robert Blamo, Jr., 29, Siafa and Blama were all motorcycle technicians specialized in heavy duty motor bikes. She says the three men were working with Robert Blamo Sr., the father of one of the victims.

According to Lovettee, since Saturday, 15 October Mr. Ahoussouhe who popularly is called by the name of his funeral home St. Moses, allegedly called the father of the late Blamo, Jr., asking the father to allow his son Blamo, Jr. to go to Bomi Hill at the Jungle Gym Diamond Creek to help fix his motorbike.

While preparing for service on Sunday morning, Lovettee Johnson narrates that they were surprised to receive a call informing them that their children got drowned in the river and since then, their bodies are yet to be found.

"We're standing in front St. Moses to demand Moses to bring back our brothers [that] he took from here alive and we will continue to be here until we can get the result we want to hear that our children have been found and alive," some angry family members say.

The protesters besieged the entrance of the St. Moses Funeral Parlour, denying pathologists that are carrying on the autopsy on the bodies of the two deceased employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) access to the funeral home.

The LRA employees' corpses were found in a packed vehicle on Broad Street recently, sparking fear as additional two persons died mysteriously within that same period.

A team from the Liberia National Police (LNP) arrived at the St. Moses Funeral Parlour Tuesday and put the situation under control. But the protesters promised to continue their protest on Friday and Saturday, targeting the days that the funeral home usually carries out removals.

Police Spokesman Moses Carter who was also on the scene confirms in an interview that three people are dead of alleged drowning, extending the police's condolences to the victims' families. But later, Mr. Carter contradicted his previous statement that they are still in search of the missing people and their bodies are yet to be found.

In the new version of his statement, Mr. Carter says the report received at central from the police investigators in Bong County says a canoe carrying six people allegedly sank in the St. Paul River.

He narrates that three persons survived while the other three remain at large. The Police spokesman laments that they contacted the families of the three missing persons, adding that investigation is ongoing in Bong County to find the bodies of the three missing people and establish the cause of the accident.

When this paper arrived at the home of the Blamo family in Brewerville Township, the mother of Blamo, Jr. Madam Roselyn Blamo explains to this paper that her husband Robert Blamo, Sr. and St. Moses have been long time friends.

According to her, her husband always worked for St. Moses. Madam Roselyn Blamo narrates that on Friday, her husband received a call from St. Moses requesting him to allow his son Blamo, Jr. to go to Bomi Hill to repair his bike.

"My husband told Moses that our [son] has never been out of town to work, but Moses kept calling that he was sending someone with [a] bike to come pick Blamo Jr. up," she explains.

"Moses even sent us the bike person's number and we were in communication [with] the bike man till he came, pick up my son and his friends and they left," Madam Blamo narrates further.

With tears rolling down her cheek, Madam Blamo says further that since then, her son, his friend and the bike man left Brewerville, they have been calling Blamo, Jr. and St. Moses, but couldn't get them.

"We decided to call the bike man who picked the call and told us that our son and his friends arrived safely and were with St. Moses before he left for his town," she continues.

According to her, they kept calling Blamo, Jr. and his phone kept ringing, but no answer. Additionally, she says St. Moses could not also be reached at all.

"We kept worrying until Sunday morning when we got a call from my big daughter, telling us that someone called her that our son and his friends are dead," Madam Blamo laments.

She says when her daughter got home hurriedly, she told the family that someone had claimed to have found Blamo, Jr.'s wallet and identified the family name from Blamo's Identification Card that was in his wallet.

According to her, the caller indicated that it was through that she was contacted. Since the incident, the mother says St. Moses has not called the family directly, but he's only using his employees at the funeral home to give information.

She says this has gotten her husband angry and he went out to the funeral home. Prior to going to the funeral home, she says her husband went to the Police Central Headquarters to report the case.

At the funeral home, she says the employees there did a conference call including her husband and St. Moses, and in that alleged call, she claims that St. Moses told her husband that he was sleeping when Blamo, Jr. and his friends decided to come back to Monrovia unknowingly to him.

However, Madam Blamo indicates that another information she gathered from Bong Mines indicates it was Moses who allegedly instructed three employees from his Diamond Creek to escort her son and his friends.

She wonders how St. Moses could be telling the family that he did not know of the three men's decision to leave.

She states that her husband requested to go to Bong Mines where the incident occurred, but St. Moses allegedly told her husband that it was risky for him to go at the incident scene because the town has put its devil outside.

Madam Blamo also denies police's information that they have been in contact with the bereaved families.

She says there is no time police have ever called her or her husband until Mr. Blamo himself reported the case on Monday at central.

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