BARRIKEN, Maryland – A 14-year-old is suffering from severe burns after a man calling himself a prophet attempted to get him to confess to being a wizard.
Francis Brown, a resident of Barriken, a town along the Harper-Pleebo Road, was accused by his siblings of being responsible for a protracted illness that afflicted their father.
A Bush Chicken reporter discovered the incident when he noticed Brown walking along the streets of Harper with the burn marks. Brown said he had been accused of being a wizard by his siblings, who alleged that he was responsible for his father’s illness.
He said his siblings, who had the same father but different mothers, took him on several occasions to traditional doctors for investigation. After those efforts were fruitless, they decided to take him to a prophet, Moses Tune, in Pleebo Sodoken Statutory District.
The teenager said after being injured by Tune, he was kept in the prophet’s home for three months without proper medical care. Brown now finds it impossible to turn his neck due to the burn.
He said he pleaded with his siblings that he was not a wizard, but “because my mother is not alive, and I am living with my stepmother, so accusing me was a gain for them.”
Brown now lives with his 25-year-old uncle, Samuel N. Stephen, who is the younger brother of the child’s late mother. Brown has also undergone treatment at the J. J. Dossen Memorial Hospital.
Samuel Stephen told The Bush Chicken that Tune had admitted to the act after the boy was brought over by his siblings.
“Immediately, I contacted the police, and he was arrested and detained at police headquarters in Pleebo,” Stephen said.
Prior to The Bush Chicken’s investigation, Tune had been temporarily released from police custody without any explanation. However, police soon rearrested Tune, and he is now serving a one-year sentence at the Harper Central Prison.
Speaking in an interview with reporters in Pleebo before being rearrested, Tune admitted to committing the act on the 14-year-old, but he said it was not his first time performing such act and it had been working for people.
“I’ve been called by God over seven years now,” he said. “I have been praying for people and solving many problems that even hospitals cannot solve, but this little boy could not say what he knows about his father’s prolonged illness – something that led me to tie red clothes around his neck and light a fire, which burned him like this.”
Brown’s father, Solo Brown, recently agreed to an interview about the incident, where he said he regrets the prophet’s action. He added that Tune was not instructed to burn the boy, but to make him confess or say what he knows about the illness.
The 71-year-old Brown and father of 23 children said a doctor at J. J. Dossen told him his illness was the result of “weak bladder.”
He called for humanitarians to come to the aid of his son.
“Thank God [Tune] has been rearrested,” he said. “I want the law to take its course, and I am calling on humanitarian organizations [and] the Government of Liberia to come to the aid of my son as he was not born crippled.”
Besides Tune, no other individuals have been arrested in connection with the case.
Featured photo by George Momo