Liberia: Over 9,000 Illegal Migrants In G/Gedeh Forest
Monrovia – Senator Marshall Dennis (CDC-Grand Gedeh County) has alarmed over the intrusion of hundreds of Burkinabe from neighboring Ivory Coast and other countries into Grand Gedeh County, where they are illegally farming and occupying land.
Senator Dennis in a Communication, said the illegal migrants, approximately nine thousand are already encroaching on lands illegally.
“They are doing farming and planting cocoa. Who knows whether they are even carrying out illegal mining because no one is policing them with no benefits for people and to the Republic of Liberia. In the intelligence report from the police, there are some Liberians who are bringing people into Liberia and promising them land for farming.”
The Grand Gedeh County Senator also expressed fears that if nothing is done urgently, Liberia stand a risk of losing some of its land space to its neighbors because of some of the illegal occupation of people from Burkina-Faso and other Nationals.
Recently, during his appearance before the Senate, Mr. Gesler Murray, Minister of Mines and Energy, warned that if care is not taken, the increase in social marginalization of Liberians at various mining sites around the country could degenerate into xenophobic and reprisal actions that could trigger a degree of social unrest.
His comments were in response to reports about many Liberian men at mining sites complaining that their girlfriends and spouses are being taken away by illicit Ghanaian miners who have better economic benefits owing to their illicit mining activities.
At a Senate hearing , he said, what is more appalling is the news that some young girls have been subjected to sexual-based violence and abuse and in some instances these girls are being used for pornographic movies.
“The social fabric is being eroded by young girls leaving school and becoming bread winners for their families.”
Minister Murray was invited by the Senate to provide update on mining activities in the country, especially in the wake of reports of foreigner’s evading Liberia’s mining sector and carrying out illicit mining activities.
The minister told the Senate about how the illegal mining sector is being dominated by Ghanaians and other nationals.
“Even though dominant foreign nationalities involve in illicit mining activities are Ghanaians, there are also other nationals in these activities to include Malians, people from Burkina Faso, Ivorians, Guineans and Sierra Leoneans. Without bias, the presence of citizens of Burkina Faso and Malians tend to raise some eyebrow as Mali and Burkina Faso are now confronted with the task of active jihadist militants.”
He stressed that there is a need for the country’s national security apparatus to begin to roll out a security network across the illegal mining sites as illegal mining has the propensity to evolve into a national security threat.
According to Minister Murray, the Ministry’s investigation has also uncovered that most of the miners enterEd the country through the 74 porous borders not guarded by officers of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS).
According to him, Liberia has 174 porous border crossing point and only 40 of those guarded by LIS officers while 77% are opened to illegal entry.
“Chinese nationals who may have entered legally are also found to be engaged in illegal mining, mainly by providing earth moving equipment to Class ‘C’ miners operating under dubious corporative scheme. Another problem we have identified is aiding and abetting by local community residents who should be the first watchdog against illegal miners
The actions of these communities tend to prevent the ministry from enforcing the mining laws. Some county authorities like paramount chiefs, town chiefs, superintendents and commissioners have not cooperated well in the enforcement mandates and are alleged to have facilitated illegal activities in return for some favor or gratuity.”