Liberia: Two Liberian Students Missing in Switzerland

18 September 2023

At least two- Liberian students from the United Methodist University (UMU) are reported missing in Switzerland, while on studies tour in Europe.

The missing students are J. Seldrilla Bartee, a female graduate of UMU with identification number #22434, and David F. Fallah, a male student with identification number #22052.

Both students are said to have defected their study groups to an unknown location during a 2023 Newest Studies tour in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

J. Seldrilla Bartee in white before their departure

The two students were part of a group of five students in Switzerland before they defected on Tuesday, 12 September 2023.

According to reports, the UMU students were sent to Switzerland along with other students from Stella Maris Polythenic as part of the 2023 Newest Studies tour at the OST Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences.

The educational travel was organized by the OST Eastern Switzerland University in partnership with the Bowier Trust Foundation, Switzerland (BTFS).

The educational program aims at providing access to quality learning opportunities for young Liberian students while creating an enabling and safe environment for them.

A NewDawn newspaper investigation has gathered that J. Seldrilla Bartee and David F. Fallah left their designated study programs and have not returned to the disbelief of the university.

A search is being conducted to find the missing Liberian students.

UMU president Dr. Yar Donlah Gonway-Gono has expressed concerns over the missing students.

David F. Fallah

Dr. Gono said the university regrets the actions of the students and is exploring all means to find and have them returned safely to Liberia and reunite with their respective families.

"There's [a] lot we are trying to do, a collaborative effort with our counterpart to locate these students as we the United Methodist University asked the families of these students and the public to remain calm," said Dr. Gono.

She noted that the UMU remains committed to exploring all necessary possibilities to find and return the missing students home.

Dr. Gono

The United Methodist University president told NewDawn that the university has taken all immediate steps, including contacting the police and providing every required information to aid the search and address the situation.

"We believe that these students will be found. There's no doubt, everyone at UMU regrets the situation and didn't know that this was going to happen," she added.

For his part, Sheikh Abdul Sherif said the disappearance of the students is disheartening to the university.

He noted that a thorough search is on to [find and] relocate them to Liberia.

He said the remaining three students have completed their newest studies tour and they were expected in the country on Sunday, 17 September 2023.

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