Liberia: Armed Robbers Enter Mission House, Attack Missionary

This is an outside view of the kitchen window where the four armed robbers entered. The window bars that were ripped off the window are in the foreground.
This is an outside view of the kitchen window where the four armed robbers entered. The window bars that were ripped off the window are in the foreground.

MONROVIA, Liberia—Four Armed Robbers entered the mission house at the FPCNA missionary compound outside Monrovia, Liberia early this morning, demanded money, and attacked and stole several personal items from one of the missionaries.

Rev. David DiCanio was awakened at approximately 3 am when he heard noises coming from his kitchen. Assuming it was a mouse, he went to check and was confronted by four men wielding machetes and a large iron bar.

Rev. Colin Mercer, secretary of the FPCNA mission board, issued the following lengthy statement about the situation this morning:

“I am writing to inform you of a serious incident in Liberia in the early hours of Tuesday morning. At 3:15am, Rev. David DiCanio was awakened by sounds coming from the kitchen and when he went to investigate he was confronted by two men with machetes who had entered the property through the kitchen window. Two more men were in the process of coming in the same way. They had ripped the steel bars from the windows. When David appeared they demanded money and stole a considerable amount of dollars from his double safe. They hit him with the blunt edge of the machetes, though he did not suffer serious physical injury. They also stole a number of David’s personal items.

UN-POL (United Nations Police) investigate the property shortly after the robbery.
UN-POL (United Nations Police) investigate the property shortly after the robbery.

Before they left, they forced David into a closet and demanded that he remain there. During the ordeal, he felt he was going to lose his life. Once David was convinced that the men had left his house, he immediately made his way across the compound to the building where Joanne Greer lives. She was not aware of the break in or of any of the trauma that had unfolded and was completely unharmed. David’s truck had been tampered with, but they were able to drive out of the compound in Joanne’s vehicle and make their way to friends in the neighbourhood. The chief of police was called and arrived approximately an hour later with police officers. They arrested three men who worked as watchmen in the compound, though there is no further information on the ongoing investigation.”

Rev. DiCanio also issued the following statement:

The bedroom in the mission house where the armed robbers tore apart looking for money.
The bedroom in the mission house which the armed robbers tore apart looking for money.

“I want to express my sincere thanks for the continued prayers and support of the Lord’s people for the circumstances we’ve experienced here in Liberia. It has been a great comfort. There have been times in the past few days as I’ve relived the horrifying events, where I’ve reminded myself of the fact that the angels were there protecting me at the Lord’s command. That has been a comfort to me. That comfort comes by faith, and I need the Lord to increase my faith because it is not easy to lay hold of that since the event itself screams out that these men were in control. But truly they were not; the Lord was and is in control. At the moment the robbery was happening, having just awoken from a deep sleep, I experienced an extremely deep terror. It all occurred in slow motion. They were screaming that they wanted money, hitting me hard with machetes. I was trying to tell them that I would give them the money, but the fear made my speech so extremely slurred

The closet with the safe door opened, where the armed robbers forced DiCanio to hand over construction funds.
The closet with the safe door opened, where the armed robbers forced DiCanio to hand over construction funds.

that I could not be clear to them. I sounded like I was drunk or like I had had a stroke. I have never, ever felt such a deep fear. I also never felt so incredibly helpless in all my life. There were so many thoughts rushing through my mind like quick arrows. One overwhelming thought was that it was incredible that the day of my death had come at this time. I was having difficulty believing it, but I knew that I could do nothing about it but pray. I did start to pray when I was in the closet waiting for them to finish stealing from my bedroom before returning to kill me. But things eventually went silent, and I quietly and cautiously fled to get to Joanne and get us both off the property for fear the men were still around. Thank you again for your continued prayers, and thank you especially to the Free Presbyterian Mission Board of North American for their support at this time.”