Tensions erupted on Decoration Day, 13 March among different groups at several cemeteries across Montserrado County over the ownership of graves.
Our reporter visited the Palm Grove Cemetery on Center Street in Central Monrovia; the Du-Port Road Cemetery in Paynesville and the Louisiana Township Cemetery in lower Montserrado County and witnessed confusions among different groups of family members surrounding the ownership of graves for their fallen relatives.
It all started on Center Street when two groups of families engaged each other over a grave that both parties claim belonged to their fallen relatives.
The opposing families threatened to inflict wounds on each other if they cannot get access to the disputed grave, forcing both parties to abandon the grave in question.
Mr. Jefferson McClain, one of the relatives of the late Mother Cecelia Gibson Toe alleges that the grave in question is where Mother Toe was buried on January 11, 2008.
But another family represented by Mrs. Jackson Slewion Nagbe, also claims that the very grave is where they buried their deceased uncle Arthur Dean Harris on March 12, 2012.
However, the grave being fought over by the opposing parties had completely damaged or broken down by unknown individuals who are in the constant habit of visiting the cemetery and breaking into graves.
These suspects are said to break into cemeteries to steal caskets and other valuables buried along with the deceased.
The situation at the Palm Grove Cemetery was brought under control when officers from the Center Street Police Depot intervened and requested the two families to forget about the grave.
The families will have to provide death certificates from the medical institutions where their relatives died to establish true ownership of the grave. Both families have agreed to this suggestion.
Similar situation also obtained at the Du-Port Road and Brewerville cemeteries where confusions ensued between different family groups over ownerships of grave sites.
Mr. Washington Papie Juwle told reporters at the Du-Port Road Cemetery that he and other family members went to the cemetery to clean and repaint the grave of their deceased brother Stephen Thomas Juwle, but they were informed by their neighbors that the same grave was being decorated by the family of the late Mah Dolo Wuo.
Hell later broke loose when the opposing families started fighting each other at the jammed-parked cemetery.
The incident forced people to run helter-skelter in fear that they would have been hurt by stones that were being thrown from all directions by the opposing parties for several minutes.
Situation came under control when officers from the Paynesville Joe Bar Depot requested the opposing families to leave the grave until the police can establish which one of them owned the grave in question.
Other cases at the cemeteries include difficulties encountered by family members in locating their fallen relatives’ graves, among others.
By Emmanuel Mondaye –Edited by Winston W. Parley