Hundreds of Liberians protest alleged ritual murders
Hundreds of women protested in Liberia’s capital Monrovia on Tuesday against a wave of alleged ritual killings in the country, an AFP journalist saw.
Rumours of ritual murders have been spreading on social media for weeks in the West African nation, with reports of corpses found with body parts removed — ostensibly for occult purposes.
Liberian police have denied the bulk of the reports, however, and arrested a member of the political opposition accused of fanning the rumours.
On Tuesday, hundreds of women gathered in front of Monrovia’s capitol building, which houses the country’s legislature, to protest the alleged slayings.
The group also delivered a statement to legislators, seen by AFP, demanding that the government and police examine “the exponential rate of ritualistic killing”.
Ritual murders are not unheard of in Liberia and were common during the country’s back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003.
Body parts severed from the victim’s corpse are thought to be used in rituals designed to benefit the murderer.
However late last month, Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue announced that most of the recent alleged incidents are baseless, according to local media.
“These are paid agents,” he was reported as saying, referring to the people circulating the rumours.
Sudue nonetheless clarified that one ritual murder did occur recently in southeastern Liberia.
Last week, Liberian police arrested a member of the opposition party Alternative National Congress for posting misinformation about ritual killings online.
Liberia is a poor country still recovering after its brutal civil wars and the West African 2014-16 Ebola pandemic, which killed 4,800 people in the country.