Part II
The second half of the 20th century: 
'heart man' murders 


Introduction and Caution

It will never be known how many victims died in the hands of ritual killers nor will it ever be known how many perpetrators got away with their hideous crimes. Many people continued to believe that human sacrifices were needed (justified?!) to protect or further the interests of the tribal community - or for personal purposes: to enhance social prestige or to gain material wealth, even to gain access to public offices. 

In 1976 I spoke to a medical doctor who worked in the same hospital where forty years earlier Dr Werner Junge had worked, in Robertsport, regional capital of Grand Cape Mount County. I was told that some months earlier he had to perform an autopsy on a young girl with several parts missing. A typical case of ritual killing. A man and a woman had been arrested in connection with this crime. They had confessed having committed the murder and admitted that they had acted on request of a member of the House of Parliament representing Cape Mount County. Subsequently, by government order the two accused had been transferred to Monrovia. Since then nobody had ever again heard of the case. Apparently, the affair had effectively been covered up (FVDK, personal recollections).

Caution

Before continuing, I want to make three preliminary remarks similar to those made in the introduction to Part I.

You will read about atrocious acts and are going to see some horrifying pictures. The reason why I chose to describe these acts and present these images - in spite of their at times repulsive contents - is for purposes of history only and to demonstrate the validity of the conclusion that in Liberia ritualistic practices including killings are closely related to internal politics. 

Also for historical reasons the essay contains names of victims, perpetrators and accomplices. Since it is not my intention to blame, shame or to insult anybody, I apologize to the relatives and friends for any inconvenience or embarrassment caused by this public exposure. Likewise, in a few cases I decided to mention names of accused offenders or to reproduce newspaper clippings with their names. However, the principle that nobody is guilty until he or she is found guilty after a fair trial continues to be applicable. 

Third and last comment, it is not my intention to stigmatise a particular tribe, political class or group of people or to suggest that the practice of ritual killings is limited to Liberia only, even though the essay focuses on this West African country. Unfortunately, ritual killings and cannibalism for ritual purposes occur in more than one country on the African continent as well as on other continents. In most, if not all, of these countries these revolting practices constitute a taboo subject. However, not in Liberia, for reasons that have been explained in
Part I.

Ritual Killings and Liberian Politics

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 






 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Index

 

 

  fpm van der kraaij