River Cess Motorcyclists Attribute Recent Deaths to Traditional Medicine

PALM BUSH, River Cess – After two motorcyclists died within a span of one month, some motorcyclists are fearing that a woman is using traditional medicine to target them.

On December 25, Alphonso Gbasaygee, a resident of Palm Bush community, died of a motorcycle accident. A month later, on the 28th of January, another motorist, Lester Zeogar, from the same community died in another motorcycle accident.

Since then, motorcyclists have begun speculatiing that the deaths were caused by a woman called Marie Zoegoe. Prior to the deaths, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former Liberian president, had bought a motorcycle for Zoegoe, but the bike was stolen a week after it was purchased.

Palm Bush residents said Zoegoe had gone into the town to ask who stole her bike. They said she promised she would do all she could to ensure that those involved do not go free.

Liberian society is still very superstitious and many believe in traditional medicine and the practice of witchcraft. This is much more prevalent in counties like River Cess, Liberia’s least urbanized county.

The recent death of Lester Zeogar created fear among the cyclists that Zoegoe had gone to cast a spell and it was beginning to work. Some cyclists claimed that Zoegoe’s bike was stolen by three motorcyclists and another person. Even the family members of the two victims asked her to break the spell.

Zoegoe, however, said she was unaware of the causes of the deaths.

“When my bike was stolen, I went in the communities and asked, and everyone said they didn’t know about it,” Zoegoe said. “Ever since, I left it and I’m not thinking about it anymore.”

The Bush Chicken has established that at least one person, Gideon Gbayolo, has already confessed to the theft of Zoegoe’s motorcycle. Another, Ezekiel Wilmot, has reportedly fled to seek protection from traditional doctors.

However, despite the motorcyclists’ insistence that the deaths have a supernatural reason, traffic commander Amos Tokpaque has attributed the accidents to “reckless driving and bad road conditions.” He said he plans to organize safety workshops for the motorcyclists.

Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue

Eric Doue

Eric Opa Doue is a co-founder of Echo Radio Station, which does a series of programs in Bassa, Kru, and simple Liberian English. Under his leadership, Echo Radio was selected as one of the Moody Radio global partners for training opportunities in 2013 and 2014. Eric was one of a handful of reporters who received training from Internews in 2015 on humanitarian reporting during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He holds a diploma in Journalism, from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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