34 detained in Grand Gedeh
-following ritualistic killing, protests in Maryland County
The vandalism of the Harper Correction Palace in Maryland County, southeast Liberia by angry protesters following the gruesome murder of commercial motorcyclist Mocdicious Nyemah has compelled the Liberia National Police (LNP) to transfer 34 arrested suspects to Grand Gedeh County for detention, pending completion of the Harper prison facility, police say.
Police Spokesman Moses Carter told a live talk show Monday morning, 19 April that “those persons are currently remanded at the Grand Gedeh prison,” pending the completion of the Harper prison before they will be transferred to Maryland.
According to Carter, four of the suspects were arrested for their alleged link to the ritualistic killing of victim Nyemah, while 30 suspects were arrested in connection to the vandalization, looting and destruction of property during the protests that erupted in Maryland County following the killing.
Carter says the arrested persons cannot be sent to the Harper Court because the Correction Palace in the county capital also got attacked during protest against the ritualistic killing.
“Our mission in Maryland was very successful, successful to the point where we forwarded 34 persons to court, and those persons forwarded to court were in the category of people who were responsible for the ritualistic killing … in Maryland and that of the vandalization, looting of property as well as the burning of the Speaker’s home,” he says.
Carter also explains that the police had some meetings with the local authorities of both Pleebo and Harper, relative to their concerns for ritualistic killings in the county and the issue of justice.
“They were assured of our resolve to ensure that they get justice and that the issue of ritualistic killing will be fought head – on, but it will be a joint effort as this was done collectively,” he continues.
On Tuesday, 30 March, angry citizens, including motorcyclists broke into the Harper Prison compound, demanding the living body of murder suspect Moses Mlamah, resulting in the escape of 91 inmates, including the suspect.
The protesters allegedly damaged a police patrol vehicle, looted several properties at both Harper and Pleebo police stations in Maryland County and wounded a deputy police commander.
Economic and other activities came to a standstill Tuesday, 30 March in the county as riot intensified there, amidst angry citizens’ demand for the speedy trial of 18 – year – old suspect Moses Mlamah who is accused of murdering 22 – year – old motorcyclist Mocdicious Nyemah on Thursday, 25 March.
Tension flared on Wednesday, 31 March and protesters set ablaze the residence of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Bhofal Chambers in the district.
Police said suspect Mlamah allegedly began chopping victim Nyemah, leading to his death, after the deceased motorcyclist had honored a request to accompany the accused into the bush to pick up some items and bring them to town.
Police said the incident occurred in Bassiken Town around the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation at 11:00 AM in Pleebo District, Maryland County where the suspect allegedly chopped victim Nyemah after an altercation between them.
According to the police, 30 minutes after the incident, they arrested, investigated, charged and sent suspect Mlamah to court for prosecution for his alleged link in the murder of victim Nyemah. But the suspect became part of prisoners who fled the Harper Prison Center when protesters invaded it.
Following the incident, President George Manneh Weah declared curfew in the entire county as of 1 April in order to keep the peace and to ensure that law and order prevailed, saying he had been informed of the gruesome killing of a young man in the county. By Winston W. Parley