Ritualistic killings pose threat to
The County of Maryland, situated close to the
border with Ivory Coast in the Southeastern part of the
Liberia, is said to be experiencing huge difficulties as a
result of ritualistic (‘Gboyo’) activities that engulfed the
county in recent times, even in time past.
Senior Senator John A. Ballout (...) said (....) “The city
of Harper is calm and has been calm for the past two to
three weeks; since the whole story erupted, there had never
been any instance of disturbance; all of the news that
people spread is mere exaggeration,” he emphasized. (...)
the fact that the people of Maryland did not take the law
into their hands by destroying property and causing
unnecessary and uncalled-for problems does not mean that
they are not less concerned about the wave of ritualistic
occurrences in the county of their birth.
As Senator Ballout pointed out, the people of the county
want to see an immediate end to all ritualistic activities
in their county so that they can live in peace and enjoy
unhindered and unimpeded security leverage.
“Well, the people of Maryland want this whole idea of
ritualistic killings brought to an end; they want the
killers arrested; they want justice to be done; they are so
desperate about this that they on their own, having realized
that Government through our Justice system, our police, had
not been able to solve one ritualistic case, who have not
been able to arrest any perpetrators, so are their
frustrations,” he indicated.
However observers say residents of Maryland are right to
call for a halt to ritualistic killings but reminded them of
events of 1978 when permanent citizens of the county
former Superintendent James Anderson, Allen Yancy, Jr.
Francis Seton, Tarnyennoh Wleh and many others were hanged
for killing Kru singer and notorious fisherman, Moses Tweh.
Meanwhile, the Maryland County Senior Senator said about 12
persons out of the initial 18 people arrested when the
incident was first unearthed have been released, with 7
persons released Sunday while additional 5 persons were
According to him, those released are not completely out of
the woods as they could be picked up any time when there was
new evidence linking any of them to involvement in
ritualistic activities in the county.
However, observers say, it is just a matter of time that the
county erupts into another chasm of ritualistic debacle
because “Marylanders are hedonistic about rituals.”
April 6, 2010
Maryland County: Ritualistic Murders,
Voodoo and the Rule of Law
Former Interior Minister and Maryland
Superintendent under previous Administrations, and at the
moment of his arrest Ambassador-at-Large appointed by
President Sirleaf, Dan Morias, former Associate Justice of
the Supreme Court and former Maryland County Attorney Cllr
Fulton Yancy, together with at least eight other persons,
were arrested following a string of ritual murders. They are
now in custody in the county capital’s jail, according to
the Harper police 'for protective reasons’.
Some sources even report the arrest of as many as
nineteen suspected ritual killers.
The circumstances surrounding their arrests caused President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to
warn against voodoo justice and raise many questions
about the rule of law in Liberia.
Liberian Perspectives, April 4 2010
Guinea and Liberia (Lofa County): 300 'witches'
confess to witchdoctor
About 300 persons in Liberia and Guinea have
reportedly confessed to a Guinean witchdoctor for their
alleged roles in ritualistic activities, including the
killing of seven pregnant women and unborn children.
The alleged witches have reportedly been confessing to a
25-year-old Kissi witchdoctor known as Kamanor for the past
three years since he launched his witch-finding crusade in
the two countries.
Kamanor arrived in Lofa County recently at the invitation of
residents of Lawalazu, Voinjama District.
Eyewitnesses told the New Democrat that about 25 persons
have confessed to Kamanor for the past two weeks he has been
carrying out the exercise in Lawalazu. He has reportedly
discovered several traditional medicines with the suspects
and that some confessed of using them for rituals,
eyewitnesses said. One witness said human parts were among
An elder of Lawalazu, Joseph Sumo, said they invited the
witchdoctor in the town because of the mysterious
disappearances and deaths without cause.
April 5, 2010
Concerns of ritualistic killings in Lofa
County: Sirleaf meets with citizens
President Ellen Johnson Thursday met with
representatives of Zorzor District, residing in Monrovia and
Zorzor to address concerns raised by them in a petition. The
residents in their petition, expressed concern that
Government’s robust response to incidents in Konia town may
overshadow concerns of ritualistic killings in the area.
They spoke of three incidents of ritualistic killings of
their children which have remained unresolved.
“Our people live in constant fear as the culprits of these
crimes roam about in our District with impunity,” the Zorzor
residents said in their statement.
The President thanked the group for the peaceful assembly
and restraint exercised during their assembly. (....) The
Liberian leader encouraged the people of Zorzor to assist in
providing clues that could lead to the speedy apprehension
of the culprits.
More than one hundred inhabitants of Zorzor District,
residing in Zorzor and Monrovia staged a peaceful
demonstration Thursday to express concern over what they
view as the delay in apprehending perpetrators of a string
of alleged ritualistic killings in Zorzor, Lofa County.
The statement was signed by paramount and clan chiefs
representing clans in Bluyeama, Gizima, and Zieama as well
the representatives of women and youth groups.
March 20, 2010
Lofa County Sen. Sumo Kupee Accused of ritual killing…Some
Defend his Integrity
Lawmaker and senator Prof. Sumo Kupee is being
accused of having knowledge of the mysterious death of
13-year-old Vewu Kesselly.
The death of Kesselly surfaced a day after the senator
reportedly declared his intention to contest in the 2011
Senator Kupee, a former University of Liberia Professor of
Economics, now senior senator for Lofa County, denied having
the slightest knowledge about the death of little Kesselly.
He has however chosen not to comment on the matter because
the case is in court.
A close confidante of Senator Kupee, who spoke on conditions
of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak on a case
already in court, said “Kupee is a man of impeccable
integrity” and that he would never engage in such despicable
acts no matter the political odds.
Meanwhile, the Lofa County Magisterial Court has already
issued a formal Writ of Summons on the Senator to appear for
"Liberian witches say power is in the blood, so victims
should be eaten alive"
Tiny 14-year-old Precious sits on her orphanage bed in
the southern Liberian port town of Harper, accused of
“Precious told us her stepmother asked her to give her
biological mother as a human sacrifice,” says Moses Davies,
a police officer with the Women and Child Protection unit in
Harper’s town centre.
Public fear of ritualistic killings and witchcraft performed
by secret societies is prevalent in places like Harper’s
Maryland County in southeastern Liberia, and in the northern
counties of Nimba and Lofa.
“In the 1970s, the town of Harper was engulfed in fear,”
explains Thomas Mawolo, the Maryland County head of the
Liberian human rights watchdog, the Catholic Justice and
Under the practice known as Gboyo, there is a belief that
human body parts extracted and eaten while the victim is
still alive bestow power and affluence.
Charles Taylor and his militia brought international
prominence to Gboyo practices during Liberia’s brutal civil
war in the 1990s.
The murder of a local Harper fisherman, Moses Tweah — whose
mutilated body washed up on a beachhead known as Devil’s
Rock — triggered a massive public outcry in the town in
1977. (...) Mawolo says he has personally recorded up to 10
cases since then.
“Harper is a breeding ground for ritualistic killing... I’m
not disputing it’s not elsewhere, but in this area it’s
March 14, 2009
Fighting Child Labor, Trafficking
Colonel Richard Gonkarnue has one of the toughest jobs in
Nimba County, Liberia: to combat child labor and trafficking
at one of several checkpoints along a porous border between
Liberia and the Ivory Coast.
Here's the story: last year, a young woman from the Ivory
Coast kidnapped a 9-month-old baby from Monrovia. "To keep
the child or sell it, we don't really know," the colonel
says. In Liberia, it is common for children to be illegally
adopted and bought and sold for forced labor and sexual
exploitation. Children are trafficked for other dark
purposes, including ritual killing.
March 5, 2009
Liberian leader abhors ritual killing
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf could not hide her
disgust against the alleged ritual killing of a five
year-old boy, Moses Binda, by two Liberian women. The
incident took place in Bong Mines, 70 km north of the
Monrovia police on Tuesday said they arrested the two women
suspects after they were accusing of killing Moses Binda for
ritual purposes. They allegedly extracted some parts of his
body and disappeared with them.
The boy’s decomposed body was later found in a pit latrine.
His killers tied his hands and dumped his incomplete remains.
Moses Binda was said to have been kidnapped on his way from
school last Friday.
The commander of Bong Mines Police Station, who is known
only as Children Father, was accused of conniving with the
women to kill the young boy.
May 3, 2007
Ritual Killers in Maryland defy President Sirleaf
The Iron Lady clamped down on the ritualistic killers to
stop because she said God himself said in the Bible that
“Thou shall not kill.” “Don’t try me; don't try my
government because you think that I am a woman.”
Three hours after the President departed from Harper, Madam
Comfort Annan was out searching for her 3-year-old grandson.
The dead body of the little boy was found with parts
Analyst March 10, 2006
Woman Detained for Ritual Killing
The Magisterial Court in Buchanan has charged and detained a
woman identified as Ruth Redd with the crime of “negligence
homicide” in connection with the mysterious death of a
two-year old Victoria Wee in Gbegbah Town, in Harlandsville
Township, Grand Bassa County.
Liberian Observer October 04, 2006
Ritual killings increasing in Nimba County
According to a spokesman children are disappearing on a
daily basis with their bodies mostly discovered in the
bushes along highways and bearing marks of certain body
Analyst March 9, 2006
Bryant warns presidential candidates
against ritual killings
Liberia's interim leader Gyude Bryant has warned any
aspiring presidential candidates tempted to boost their
chances by carrying out human sacrifices that they will be
executed if caught.
IRIN June 29, 2005
Religious Freedom Report 1999
killings, in which body parts used in traditional indigenous
rituals are removed from the victim, continued to occur. The
number of such killings is difficult to ascertain, since
police often describe deaths as accidents even when body
parts have been removed.
Ritual Killing Laid To Liberian Official: Defense
Minister, Maj. Gen. Gray Allison, arrested - accused of
Eleven people, including Liberia's Defense
Minister, have been arrested and charged with the ritual
murder of a policeman as part of a plot to overthrow the
The plot began in March, after the Defense Minister, Maj.
Gen. Gray Allison, sought the aid of a ''medicine man'' to
help him advance in his career. Prosecutors assert that
General Allison had been told he would need a potion of
human blood and body parts to perform ''juju'' or ''harsh
medicine.'' The potion would then be used against Liberia's
President, Samuel K. Doe, presumably to cause his death and
bring down the Government.
A few days later a decapitated body was found lying across a
railway track near General Allison's home with its heart
ripped out. The body was later identified as that of J.
Melvin Pyne, a local policeman.
The killing remained unsolved for several months until late
June, when General Allison was arrested and charged with
The general, who faces a maximum penalty of death if
convicted, was removed as Defense Minister after his
indictment and went on trial before a military tribunal on
July 10. His wife, Angeline Watta, and nine others were
indicted as co-conspirators, but will be tried separately by
a civilian court.
General Allison has vigorously denied the charges. Among
those testifying against him were Sekou Sachko, the ''medicine
man,'' and a nurse who said he had cut off Officer Pyne's
head. The trial is expected to end shortly. The ritual
killing has gripped Liberia this summer because the
defendants are not marginal members of society but pillars
of the establishment. Before his arrest last month, General
Allison was among Liberia's most prominent political figures.
News articles about the trial often note that General
Allison and his wife were known as devout Christians. They
were recently named Liberia's father and mother of the year.
The practice of using ''juju'' for individual advancement is
also often reported in newspapers in the Ivory Coast, Ghana,
Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
While General Allison is the most prominent Liberian to have
been charged with ritual murder, dozens of business leaders,
politicans and even clergymen have been charged, and
sometimes convicted, of similar charges over the last few
In 1987, six people, including a close aide to President
Doe, were executed for the ritualistic killing of two boys.
August 15, 1989
Quiwonkpa, killed, dismembered and consumed
Thomas Quiwonkpa, former Commanding General of the Armed
Forces of Liberia, and former member of the PRC, returned to
Liberia via Sierra Leone, and staged a putsch. Quiwonkpa was
later apprehended by Doe’s forces, killed, dismembered, and
according to reports, part of his body was consumed by his
November 12, 1985
History of ritual killings in Liberia: