The Maryland Ritual Murders

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The ritualistic murder of Moses Tweh

Between mid-July and early August 1977 former Superintendent of Maryland County and also former Chairman of the local True Whig Party of Maryland, James Daniel Anderson, and Member of the House Allen N. Yancy,  and ten others were arrested in connection with the ritual killings in Maryland County. 
Click to supersize There were big demonstrations in Harper when the suspects were brought to prison. Many people shouted ‘At least we’ve got them. We can now breath of relief’. The picture shows how one of the accused, Allen Yancy, was treated. He and Anderson were forced to walk buttnaked in the streets of Harper, carrying two buckets loaded with sand.

The twelve persons arrested were:

  • James Daniel Anderson, Superintendent of Maryland County

  • Allen Nathaniel Yancy, Representative for Maryland County, House of Representatives

  • Francis Wlateh Nyepan, Assistant Supervisor of Schools

  • Philip B. Seyton, Senior Inspector of the Ministry of Commerce, Maryland County

  • Joshua W. Brown, Chief Security Officer, Liberia Sugar Company (LSC)

  • Teah Toby, Kru Governor

  • Tagbedi Wisseh, Acting Chief of Grandcess residents in Harper >

  • Thomas Barclay, cook of Allen Yancy

  • Wonplu Boye, domestic servant for Francis Nyapan

  • Kotee Weah, Chief Cook for the General Manager of the Firestone Company, Cavalla, Maryland County

  • Wreh Taryonnoh, girld friend of Francis Nyepan

  • Putu Dueh

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The suspects were charged particularly for the murder of Moses Tweh, a fisherman and popular singer. Moses Tweh, who originated from Grandcess, was kidnapped on June 26, 1977, his mutilated body was found a week later, on July 3, near the ‘Devil Rock’ in Harper. Missing from Tweh’s body were his eyes, ears, nose, armpits, testicles and tongue, among other parts. Police investigation revealed that the arrested persons admitted of being involved in the murder of Moses Tweh and that they divided certain parts of the body among themselves for ‘juju’ purpose in order to obtain higher positions in the government. Accordingly, James Anderson wanted to be an Ambassador, Allen Yancy wanted to take Senator William 'Shad' Tubman’s seat in the Senate, Philip Seton was ambitious to replace Allen Yancy as Member of the House, while Francis Nyepan’s aim was to become County Supervisor of Schools.

In his preliminary testimonies, Assistant Supervisor of Schools Francis Nyepan – who held a Master’s degree in Education from Howard University in the USA - confessed that when Tweh was kidnapped on June 26 in Old Kru Town, he was kept in his (Nyepan’s) house until the night of July 3 when he was taken in a government jeep to the backyard of Yancy’s house where he was butchered by his ‘boy’ (servant) Wonplu Boye, Kotie Weah, Chief Cook of the Firestone General Manager, and Thomas Barclay, Allen Yancy’s cook, in the presence of Yancy, Anderson and others.

When some parts of Tweh were abstracted from his body while alive, Nyepan said that Allen Yancy took the penis, anus and testicles; James Anderson took the throat, armpits, a piece of the intestine, and the liver; Nyepan himself took a large piece of the intestine; Seton received one eye and human blood contained in a small beer bottle; while the remaining parts were divided among other members of the group.

After the torture and killing of Moses Tweh, Nyepan and Joshua Brown (who considered Nyepan as his god-father) transported the mutilated body in the same jeep to the end of Harper airport and took it across Lake Shepard to the ‘Devil Rock’ where they dumped it on the beach. Nyepan also revealed that Yancy introduced his cook as the ‘juju’ man. One of the other accused, Phillip Seton revealed that while the victim was kept in Nyepan’s house, Wreh Taryonnoh, Nyepan’s girl friend, fed him. (Source: Liberian Age, August 9, 1977, p.1 and 10).

Besides, it was Taryonneh who, prior to the discovery of Moses Tweh’s mutilated body, had remarked to a group of women who were searching for the missing man, that if they would be so lucky to find him, only his bones they might see. Her remarks sparked her arrest, followed by the incarceration of the others.

Allen Yancy expelled from the House of Representatives






















































© fpm van der kraaij












































source: The Liberian Inaugural Vol. 2, no. 25, August 1977


























Source: The Liberian Age, August 5, 1977 / back


























Source: The Liberian Age, August 9, 1977 / back

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