Religious Clashes in Liberia

By Kylie M Tsudama

Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa

MONROVIA, Liberia – In the midst of violence, the United Nations has sent peacekeepers to the northern Liberia village of Voinjama in Lofa County, where the government has imposed a curfew.

Clashes were sparked by the death of a Christian student in the Konean village near Voinjoma.  Her body was found “with body parts extracted” near a mosque.

“A few days ago a girl named Korpu Kamara went missing and were on a search for her, but yesterday she was found dead with bullet (wounds) on her body,” said Joseph Wulu.

Following the discovery, students in Konean went on a rampage and destroyed a mosque.

“In reaction the Muslims of Voinjama went on a rampage and burned down churches, including the Catholic mission,” Wulu said.

Media reports that two mosques, one church, and other properties have been burned down.  Witnesses have identified the Catholic, Baptist, and Episcopal churches in the area as those that have been burned down.  Additionally, a doctor at Talawayon hospital in Voinjama reported that four people died and another eighteen were being treated for injuries.

The outbreak of violence is said to have been a clash between Muslims and Christians.  This is the third violent outbreak between the two communities this year.

The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) dispatched police and military personnel to help the Liberia National Police.  UNMIL called on “all the peace committees and local security committees to take the appropriate measures to contain the situation and act according to their designated objectives.”

Since 2003, UNMIL has had peacekeepers stationed in Liberia tasked with restoring peace.  Last year the UN Security Council extended the mandate in order for UNMIL to be authorized to assist Liberia with its 2011 elections.

For more information, please see:

Washington Post – Curfew in North Liberia After Religious Clashes – 27 February 2010

AFP – UN Peacekeepers Sent to Probe Religious Clashes in Liberia – 26 February 2010

UN News Centre – UN Blue Helmets Sent to Scene of Violence in North-West Liberia – 26 February 2010

Author: Impunity Watch Archive