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Missing Magistrate’s Disappearance
Might Resurrect Tribal Conflict
-But Wife Speaks Out In Grand Gedeh?

On May 3, 2022, Grand Gedeh County Election Magistrate, Alfred Dunner went missing under shadowy circumstances in Janzon where he had gone to seek traditional treatment as a citizen of Konobo Administrative District.
Ever since Dunner’s disappearance, family members and other kinsmen had launched a massive manhunt for his whereabouts.
While the search for the missing elections magistrate continues, the people of Konobo Administrative District under the banner “Konobo People Association (KPA) are alleging kidnapping of their kinsman and entreating President George M. Weah to intervene into the situation.
In a statement issued over the weekend of May 13, 2022, the group said the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Dunner comes months after some youth allegedly held a talk show in Zwedru City demanding the removal of Mr. Alfred Dunner as Acting Election Magistrate of the county because they were uncomfortable with him.
“After that talk show, there have been many attempts to harm Mr. Dunner by unknown men that would not allow him to sleep home out of fear for his life,” the group indicated.
According to the Konobo People Association, there has been increased security threat on the life of Mr. Dunner in the aftermath of the 2020 Mid-Term Senatorial Election that brought. Zoe E. Pennue as Senator and the 2021 Representative By-Election for District 1 which also brought Erol Madison Gwion as Representative, replacing Pennue, in Grand Gedeh County.
“This security threat has caused young Grand Gedeans who are NEC workers to live in fear across Grand Gedeh County. So the lack of local government’s ability to provide protection for young people who are driven by integrity during the conduct of elections has increased the level of insecurity in the county. Given that Alfred has informed his family and some close associates that his refusal to take bribe from politicians to cheat other candidates during elections has further threatened his security that we believe might have led to his disappearance,” the statement pointed out.
The Konobo people, a sub-section of Grand Gedeh County, kinsmen of the missing election magistrate, have gathered in search of him in the Niao Section where the incident occurred but were allegedly chased out with cutlasses, stones, and single barrel guns leaving more than five persons wounded and 10 others injured currently undergoing treatment at the Martha Tubman Memorial Hospital in Zwedru.
“So instead of helping to find the man that was kidnapped, the Niao People are inflaming the conflict by attacking the already aggrieved citizens from Konobo District. As we speak, citizens who went in search of their son were shot at by the Niao people and some were arrested and currently placed behind bars at the National Palace of Corrections. Unfortunately, those who committed these aggravated assaults and terroristic threats that left the citizens from Konobo wounded and injured are free and moving around boasting of their actions to cause harm,” the group claimed.
Our reporter in the county said the situation could potentially worsen if nothing is done to put the situation under control. Sectional crisis between the people of Konobo Administrative District and Niao could have spill-over effect on other parts of the county given the fact that people would want to use the crisis to destroy lives and properties.
Meanwhile, Madam Vivian Dunner, the fiancée of the National Elections Commission (NEC) missing staff in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, who is presumed dead has disclaimed allegations levied against her.
Alfred Dunner, 40, mysteriously disappeared on Tuesday, 3 May, in Niao Juazon in the Cavalla Administrative District, where he had allegedly gone to seek traditional treatment for a strange sickness.
The NEC local magistrate’s wife has reportedly been accused by some of his relatives including his brother, Jeremiah Dunner and Christopher Kumeh, the brother-in-law of allegedly being responsible for taking her husband into the sick bush in Konobo District, his birthplace.
But the young widow, 29, and mother of two (twin) who spoke for the first time in 13 days since her husband’s mysterious disappearance said they had been in courtship for eight years.
Vivian told the local media that Alfred was taken to the village (Niao) by Jeremiah and Christopher who claimed that at one point in time they took one of their sisters there and she was cured therefore, the same could be done to their brother.
“Jeremiah and Christopher took their brother to their village and not me. Therefore, I should not be accused, rather they should be honest by telling the truth as to state what happened and where the man is,” Vivian refuted.
Quoting her brothers-in-law, she went further that three of them were asleep in the same room when Alfred came out during the late hour with the intention perhaps of urinating unfortunately he did not return and yet, for almost weeks now he has not been found.
“I was not with them. I do not know what happened. I got the news about Alfred being missing from other people and not from them,” Vivian told local reporters in Zwedru.
Meanwhile, since the news of Alfred’s disappearance for nearly four days a peaceful street protest aimed at exerting pressure on local authorities to find the missing man had turned into chaos with burning and destruction of properties as well as citizens’ house arrest in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
The public demonstration caused the closure of businesses including public offices from Thursday, May 12 through Monday May 16, in Zwedru and its surrounding towns and villages.
Women from all walk-of-life including Konobo District and the Southeastern Women Development Association (SEWODA) stormed the street in Zwedru forcing the closure of either private and public businesses or offices.
The NEC’s employee is not the first person to have gone missing as there have been numerous cases of such. In April of 2021, a three year-old boy disappeared in Polar Town and was discovered dead near a creek with body parts missing.
In August, 2021, a 63 year-old man also went missing in his own garden in Zuajah Town, Gbarzon Statutory District and then, his whereabouts is yet not known.
Also, last month (April), a 54 year-old man identified as Bestman Weyea disappeared from one of the villages in Zleh Town, Gbarzon District and up to press time his body has not been found.

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