Gbarnga — Police in Gbarnga on Thursday confirmed the gruesome killing of a 21-year-old girl by persons suspected to be ritualists in the central city of Gbarnga, Bong County.
The police described the incident as "unfortunate and mysterious". The police said investigation had begun into the case and that the Crimes Services Division (CID) had been directed to take over the case.
Concerned residents had earlier told FrontPageAfrica that the victim, Annie Wamah, was not only killed, she was beheaded and vital organs were removed by suspected rituals.
Also confirming the reports, the deceased's uncle, Moses Harmon, said his neice, a resident of Buteh Sue community in Gbarnga, electoral District Three, had earlier gone missing on Monday, October 11 around 10:00 am when she arrived in Gbarnga from her parents' farm in Wainsue Town.
Harmon said he first raised the alarm and organised a search party, but efforts to find her proved abortive until 8:00 p.m. when her corpse was found in Ghankay Farm with her throat slit and other vital organs removed.
"On that fateful day I got a call that my niece was missing and I raised the alarm and asked community members to help the family search for her," he said.
"The matter was immediately reported at the Police station, but it was not long that information came that her body had been located at Ghankay Farm.
"She was slaughtered like a goat and the corpse dumped in bush," he said. "When the police came and saw the body, they saw that the tongue, the lips, and the genitals were cut off," Harmon said. "The family filed a complaint but I know it will go nowhere."
Harmon appealed to police to unravel the sudden death of his neice.
In recent months, reported cases of ritual killings have surged in Liberia. A rising number of mutilated bodies on streets in Monrovia and other parts of the country this year has sown fear in Liberians.
Recently, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.
A day earlier, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, perpetrators have not been arrested.
Liberians have taken to social media to raise alarm about the rise in ritual activities, urging commuters to always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles as they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information.
Amid the scourge in suspected ritualistic activities in the country, Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue and his deputy Prince Mulbah, say such reports are untrue and being fueled by opposition politicians to tarnish the image of the government.
Sudue and Mulbah, appearing on the national radio few weeks ago, disclosed that the police are only aware of a single ritualistic incident, which occurred in MaryLand County, adding the perpetrators are facing justice.
"People are being paid to tarnish the image of the country and to raise false national security alert. There are inconsistencies in their statements," Sudue says.
Meanwhile, Mulbah, Deputy Police Inspector General for Administration, described information about ritualistic killings in the country as a ploy designed by the opposition to create fear for diaspora Liberians who want to return home.
"As far our investigations are concerned, we haven't established anything called ritualistic killing apart from what happened in Maryland County," Mulbah says.
"We have heard a lot of people talking on social media of people being kidnapped and taken away, these are paid agents."
Sudue said most of these social media pictorials and videos about ritualistic incidents are not a representation of what is unfolding in the country.
He warned those involved in orchestrating a negative image about the country to desist, or face the full weight of the law.
However, the country's Vice President, Jewel Howard-Taylor called on those in authority of the security to take actions that would end the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.
The vice president said Liberians are feeling more insecure than ever due to the rise in suspected ritualistic activities in the country.
"I'd like to call upon our security sector to please put in place a regime that will enable our people to remain safe. The situation involves instances where women's private parts are being cut off, stories of young people being taken in specific location where others allegedly were being used for ritualistic purposes are very alarming," Howard-Taylor said.