Monrovia — The Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), through its President Bishop Kortu K. Brown, has described as a "deadlock" the present status of interventions into the mysterious disappearance of three young men who were they were hired by the Proprietor of the St. Moses Funeral Parlour, Moses Ahossoule.
It can be recalled that on October 17, Robert M. Blamo, Jr, 29, Siafa Gbana Boimah, 34, and Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, 32, were reported drowned in a river in Fuama district, lower Bong County when a canoe they were allegedly riding capsized while returning to their respective homes.
They were reportedly contracted to do a "piece of job" at the Oriental mining company owned and operated by Mr. Ahossoule, and one Mr. Abraham S. Samuels.
On November 2, Mrs. Roseline Blamo, Madam Massay Corneh and Madam Gertrude Deegon, mothers of the men who went missing, called on the LCC to intervene because, they have applied multiple efforts, but their children whereabouts remain unknown.
The grieving mothers claimed that their children are still alive and as such, the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) must help ensure that their sons are brought back to them "alive and sound".
But speaking in an exclusive interview with FrontPageAfrica recently, Bishop Brown disclosed that the Council has held separate meetings with all parties involved in the saga.
Founded in 1982, the LCC is an embodiment of churches and religious institutions in Liberia.
For several decades now, the Council has been regarded for amicably resolving or finding solutions to socio-economic and political issues in the country.
"The Council of Churches has been in contact with all the parties of this saga. We interested with people who are reported to be survivors; the canoe owner, Moses and the other people. The whole focus has been to find a way forward; the family people believe that their children are not dead. Moses and the other people believed that the children got lost on the waters".
Bishop Brown reported that an unidentified corpse that was taken to a local funeral home as the remains of one of the missing boys, were rejected by grieving family members.
"No, it has not been established whether the children are alive; there was one corpse discovered and brought to the Stryker Funeral Home and the families went to see the corpse and they told me that the corpse was not one of their missing children".
He noted that a high level of suspicion continues to linger in the minds of the family members, and as such, to find a solution to the situation remains a challenge.
"As far as we know, we have a deadlock in this situation. When people have suspicions about their family members whereabouts, it not only one or two days issue. The matter is not lay to rest because the families believed that their children are missing, but they are not dead; whereas the people who sent for their children are insisting that the canoe capsized and their children left in the waters".
Seeking MOJ's intervention
Bishop Brown pointed out that so far, the Council has not been able to bring the both parties together to find an amicable solution to the matter.
He pointed out that family members of the missing men are finding it 'hard-to-believe' that their children are dead.
"We have advised the ministry of justice to hold a meeting with all the parties involved so that we can find a way forward because, right now we are at a deadlock over these missing children because, the families are not accepting that the children are dead whereas the other side to the story continue to explain that the children were lost in the St. Paul River".
He maintained that government, through the Ministry of Justice must play a pivotal role in ensuring that both parties come face-to-face to find a remedy to the matter.
"The Council is looking for the facts; since this crisis all of these parties have not come together and we need to bring them together. The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice should make sure that all of these parties come together. We are working on such meetings so that we can bring all those parties together and sit across the reconciliation table so that the other side can hear this other side to speak directly to the issues and decide a way forward".
It has been more than one month since the incident allegedly happened on October 17, 2020.
Since then, the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Liberia National Police (LNP), is reported to be investigating the matter.
But Bishop Brown maintained that the Ministry of Justice remains obligated to ensure that justice is served in the matter.
"We are encouraging them; I think they are open to the request. The Ministry of Justice is under obligation to ensure that justice is served, and the rule of law is upheld and listened to by all the parties into this saga. I know the police are still investigation, but if the families do not accept the conclusion, it makes it difficult to advice the investigation".
At the same time, Bishop Brown has rejected the conduct of "sassywood" as part of the investigation into the matter.
Sassywood is a form of trial by ordeal that was previously practiced in Liberia.
The Government of Liberia announced a ban on the practice of "sassywood" in October, 2009, following the deaths of seven persons who were accused of witchcraft activities in River Gee County.
A 2007 United Nations Security Council report described "sassywood" as handicapped by "limited infrastructure, shortage of qualified personnel, lack of capacity to process cases, poor management and lack of the necessary will to institute reforms".
Bishop Brown stated: "the government said it is outlawed and Liberia is a signatory to many things; I feel for the families; their children are missing and it is one month now. You know how it is when a child is missing-there will be uneasiness and anxiety to bring your child back".
He continued: "The government is restrained by all kinds of protocols and laws; we try to inquire about what the traditional council was requesting and I understand it was sassywood, but the legal people said sassywood should be outlawed".
With the latest revelation from the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), it remains unclear whether or not the impasse between the Proprietor of the St. Moses Funeral Parlour and the grieving families of the missing men will come to a logical conclusion in the soonest possible time as the whereabouts of the young Liberian men remain unknown.