Series of violent protests that emerged in Lofa County following the suspicious death of victim Sianneh Gayflor in her boyfriend’s bedroom last week, have resulted to the arrest of at least 35 persons, mainly from the Mandingo and Lorma ethnic groups. Both tribes had been at each others’ throats in the past over cultural difference and practices.
Police authorities said, the victim, Gayflor, 32, of the Lorma tribe, was discovered dead in Zorzor District in the bedroom of her boyfriend, suspect Abu Kamara, a Mandingo, when she paid him a visit.
But some local media correspondents in Lofa have also expressed fear that reactions and resistance by rampaging groups appeared to be mixed with perceived longstanding bitter tribal differences between the Lorma and Mandingos following this latest incident.
Police operatives in the county have reported to Monrovia of the arrest of dozens of men and women linked to the violent rioting that has resulted to burning down of four houses, including the suspect’s father house in Zorzor.
Police spokesman Sam Collins, told reporters in Monrovia Friday, March 6, 2015 that suspect Kamara is on the run, but at least 13 persons have been arrested and detained in police custody in connection with the riot and burning of the four houses.
Mr. Collins additionally said, 22 others, who were arrested over the same incident had been signed for and taken from police custody by a city mayor, with assurance to return them when needed at any time by the police.
The police have announced a manhunt for suspect Kamara, who is alleged to have absconded his residence since the incident occurred on March 4, 2015 at 9:45 in Zorzor.
There has been no account so far as to his whereabouts, and some residents expressed fear that Kamara may have crossed over to a neighboring country, given the porous borders here.
Police said a group of men and women from Fesibu where victim Gayflor had resided prior to her death had immediately proceeded to Zorzor District to revenge the death of the deceased upon hearing of her death.
Police say a ‘Wanted’ notice carrying the photo of the “lead suspect Abu Kamara” is being placed at various locations to ensure that he and others involved face prosecution. Meanwhile, Mr. Collins says a curfew imposed in the area has been lifted and residents are going about their businesses as “calm” has returned so far.
A statement from Lofa County’s Zone Three Police authorities says, the victim’s remains have been deposited at the Zorzor Current Hospital.
By Winston W. Parley