Traditional leaders ruthlessly flog man, 43, for “witchcraft activities”

The Crime Services Division of the Liberia National Police (LNP) has dispatched a team of investigators to probe the flogging of a 43-year-old man by traditional leaders in Doduwken, Jleepo Statutory District, Sinoe County, the Government-owned Liberia News Agency (LINA) has reported.

The man, only identified as Wesseh, was allegedly beaten by traditional leaders for what they termed as his involvement in witchcraft activities.

According to information from the district, Wesseh was on Friday, July 30, 2021 accused by the traditional group of being responsible for the deaths of two others as well as the disappearance of a teenager a week ago after doing “traditional fact finding” that subsequently pointed to Wesseh as being responsible for the disappearance of the teenager and the deaths of two others.

According to the LNP’s Crime Services Division, if the action of the traditional group is proven to be true they will be charged with ‘aggravated assault’ and ‘attempt to commit murder’ and forwarded to court for trial.

The Liberia News Agency Correspondent in Sinoe County noted that the Chairperson of the Traditional Council of the County, Chief Emmanuel Wesseh, strongly condemned the alleged action of his group members on grounds that it was unfair.

“We respect tradition, but our people should stop misusing our tradition against the rule of law. This country is a country of laws and let them answer questions under the law for their actions; again we don’t and can’t support anyone doing such,” he pointed out.

The Traditional group will be in error if they apply traditional means in issues that can be handled legally under the law, the police said.

It can be recalled that recently, a 41-year old Nigerian identified as Chuman Dennis was allegedly flogged by a traditional group for the alleged sale of narcotic substances in Sinoe, Joe Village.

Chuman Dennis was reportedly tied to a tree and flogged for 24 hours before police intervention.

Records have shown that this is the third time since November 2020 that a traditional group is brutalizing citizens in the county.

Last year, three women were stripped naked in Numopoh, Kpanyan Statutory District on allegation of being involved in witchcraft activities. This resulted in the death of one of the women after being raped.

A similar incident took place in Grigsby Farm in Butaw District, where a lady was stripped naked and subjected to inhumane treatments for her alleged involvement in witchcraft activities.

Residents of Sinoe have expressed concern and are recommending to the head of the National Traditional Council of Liberia as well as the Ministry of Internal Affairs to urgently intervene and ensure that those involved in the latest brutality are charged in keeping with their functions to manage traditional affairs in the country.

In his reaction, Sinoe County Superintendent Lee Nagbe Chea said the constant involvement of the traditional group in brutalizing citizens under traditional canopy is unbecoming, and vowed that under his administration it will be laid to rest.

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