LIBERIA: Picniccess Residents Decry Ritualistic Activities; Stage Another Protest

WEDABO, Sept. 3 (LINA) – Hundreds of  Picnicess citizens in Electoral District #1 in Grand Kru County have staged another round of peaceful demonstration seeking the resumption of herbalist Tamba Bondo’s traditional operations to put an end to ritualistic killings and mysterious disappearances of young people in the area.

The protesters, who included elders, women, youths and children, marched from Picnicess community to the administration building in Barclayville to present their petition to the local authority of Grand Kru County.

The presence of herbalist Tamba Bondo has been controversial as there have been views and counter-views about his arrival in the county, leading to the current protest by the citizens of Picnncess.

One of the protesters, Miemie Togba, read the petition, stating that:” We the people of Picniccess wish to extend our thanks and appreciation to the county authority and the citizenry of Grand Kru County for their active involvement in the plight of the Picnicess people.

“The problem in our chiefdom is escalating through the influence of the County

Legislative Caucus headed by Senator Peter Wonplu Sonpon Coleman, who told us ‘if we are not mindful in keeping with government’s mandate that Mr. Tamba Bondo should stop work, then it will be like the war that was fought between the Sasstown people and the government from 1930 to 1934 in your chiefdom.”

“Indeed, we are appealing to the government, the local authority and the people of Grand Kru to join us in ensuring that the work herbalist Bondo started should be completed for the safety of our lives,” the petition stated.

In an Interview with journalists, one of the community elders, Gbe Wuefy, who sounded very aggrieved, said the situation has not only put everyone in a state of fear, but is also driving away investors and visitors, describing the place as one of the major business communities where market women go to purchase fish for sale.

“We are fed up with continuous ritualistic killings in the area. The protest is triggered by the recent mysterious death of a Classroom Teacher and Catechist, Joseph Nyenplu, who went missing while on a fishing expedition,” leader Wuefy explained.

Picnicess residents in their position statement claimed that up to 100 persons, especially young people, have died in similar fashion in recent times, and called on the government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs to allow the native doctor administer traditional justice in a bid to “cleanse’ the area of ritualistic activities.

In remarks, the Grand Kru Superintendent Doris N. Ylatun applauded the protesters for their patience in the ongoing saga. On behalf of the government of Liberia, she condemned the wave of ritualistic killings and mysterious disappearances in Picnicess and vowed that the government will take appropriate actions to bring the situation under control, adding that she is in sympathy with the community.

“Whatever affects the people living in Picnicess has a negative reflection on the county as a whole,” she noted.

Speaking to over 100 protesters at the Administration Building in Barclayville, Superintendent Ylatun appealed to the aggrieved citizens of the Picnicess Community to exercise patience as she communicates with the Internal Affairs Minster Varney Sirleaf and the Legislative Caucus of the county to find an amicable solution to the current situation confronting residents of District #1.

Alex Tarplah, one the frontline fighters of the ongoing protest, thanked Supt. Ylatun for the encouraging statement, but added that, they will not leave the premises of the administration building until herbalist Tamba Bondo is permitted to resume his operations.

In an interaction with the protesters, District #1 Representative Nathaniel Zoe Behway, urged them to remain  calm as he, their direct representative, engages the Internal Affairs Ministry to permit herbalist Bondo to complete his work in the county.

He said his office was not informed of the traditional herbalist coming to Grand Kru, which, he noted, led to the halting of his operation.

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About Cholo Brooks 13020 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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