The Maryland Ritual Murders
The ritualistic murder of Moses Tweh
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.
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.
|© fpm van der kraaij|
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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