Liberia: Traditional Leaders in Bong Reportedly Threaten to Force MNG Gold Out of Concession Area over US$450 Ransom Fund

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Kokoyah, Bong County – Traditional leaders in Bong County are reportedly pushing to force the Turkish Mining Company, MNG Gold, out of its concession area in Kokoyah District after the company gave US$450,000 to victims of a 2017 chemical spillage without their consent.

The amount was meant for Saywhen Town, a place that got affected in 2017 due to a chemical spillover from the operational site of the gold mining Company, resulting in the contamination of the community’s only source of drinking water.

Some of the community dwellers who did not know that their drinking water was polluted contracted infection.

Some chiefs, upon hearing the news of the disbursement of the money, have reportedly threatened to “push hard for the company to leave the district because of not informing them prior to the disbursement of the money”.

One chief told FrontPageAfrica: We were left out of the entire disbursement of the US$450,000.00 funds given to the town, and we felt disrespected by that. That’s why we have decided to find means to force them out of the district.”

Several meetings, FrontPageAfrica gathered, have been held among traditional leaders, who have the backing of some Bong lawmakers, have been held at different locations.

As the news spread across the county of the chiefs’ plans, some citizens of the district, particularly natives of the district who are in the employ of the company have vowed to resist their action.

Days ago FrontPageAfrica gathered that a senator of Bong County is reportedly influencing residents of Kokoyah District to protest against MNG Gold, the Turkish Mining Company.

Our source informed FrontPageAfrica that the protest, which is expected to take place either this week or early next week, is the result of the lawmaker’s claims that the company isn’t meeting the needs of the citizens as spelled out in the Memorandum of Understanding.

Stakeholders of the Kokoyah District are said to be divided by planned protest against the company, with majority against the decision to stage a protest against the company.

Most of the stakeholders who confided to FrontPageAfrica said they won’t be part of any protest, particularly at a time when the company is doing things for residents of the district outside of the MoU signed between the company and the government.

The stakeholders named the ongoing reconstruction of the vocational school, which hot gutted by fire in 2019.

One stakeholder said: “What the company is doing under the General Manager is so great that we can’t allow any setback to any development projects being undertaken.”

“We have had problems with the company before and those things we had qualms about have been settled, and beyond that the company is doing well for residents of the District. The provision of motorbikes, planting of solar lights are just a few good things being done by the new General Manager of the company.”

Another stakeholders in Kokoyah District upon hearing rumors of a planned protest against the company, called on residents to resist the temptations of protesting against the company.

He said those planning to riot against the company are doing so for their personal and political motives, and not in the interest of residents of Kokoyah. It can record in 2018, when the company was looted and now trying to regain its status and now people are starting to take the company back and so, the community has decided not to participate in any protest this come around due to a good working relationship with the company. 

In recent weeks, the company has been involved in major development works in Kokoyah, including the reconstruction of its 1.7 million vocational school and the completion of a US$415, 000 clinic, construction & rehabilitation of community roads with an approximated cost of  US5,267,100 prompting praises from residents of the district.

 The construction of the clinic was completed after the longest-serving General Manager of the company, trying to dedicate the clinic and school to the residents of the neighborhood before the start of the next academic year.

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