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Suicide or murder in police cell?

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Police cell NDFamily and community sources are disputing account provided by the Liberia National Police over the death of a 21-year-old female detainee, Bendu Saysay, in a police station along the Banjor road in Virginia, outside Monrovia.

The police are claiming that the young lady hung herself in the cell, while family members are refuting their claims saying that she was alleged raped and strangulated to death. According to the police, the late Bendu hang herself in the cell and while being rushed to the Redemption Hospital in Ndew Kru Town, she was pronounced dead.

Police spokesman Sam Collins, said the late Bendu Saysay was found helpless in the cell on Wednesday, October 21, where she was detained for alleged criminal mischief on the night of her detention.

However, sources in the Virginia community where the victim resided prior to her incarceration, narrated that the late Bendu Saysay was member of a susu club or a local self-help organization and was allegedly indebted to the head of the club in the amount of 1,500 Liberian Dollars, adding that her failure to pay the money led the susu mother to have taken her to the police where she was subsequently charged and detained.

According to them, on Tuesday, the day the deceased was taken to the station, police officers on duty that night, deserted the station to go watch a live soccer champions league match when the inmates hang herself in the cell.

But other sources alleged the late Bendu was sexually abused by officers on duty that night at the police station and decided to strangulate her to death in a bid to destroy evidence. However, police spokesman Collins dismissed these claims as baseless arguing that it isnot possible for an entire deport to be left alone without an officer.

According to Collins, the late Bendu used her lapper and hang herself on the gate of the cell before officers noticed and went to her rescue, but she was already helpless, adding that the police decided to rush her to the Redemption Hospital, unfortunately she died enroute to the hospital.

He described the incident as unfortunate and confirmed that the late Bendu Saysay was taken to the police station at Hotel Road Banjor Junction on charges of criminal mischief. As to accounts from community and family sources, the police spokesman declined to comment on grounds that investigations were still ongoing.

By Bridgett Milton & Chealy Brown Dennis-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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