MNG Gold, Bong County Communities Hold Talks to Rejuvenate Relationship

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Bong County – The Chief Executive Officer of Turkish mining company MNG Gold in Liberia has held important meeting with several towns in Kokoya, Bong County aimed at solidifying the company’s relationship with the local communities.

Mr. Serhan Umurhan paid a visit to the firm’s Kokoya gold mine after the tragic motor accident, which happened on the evening of Monday November 5, 2018, causing the deaths of four persons.

The accident sparked outrage from some residents who went on the rampage, resulting to massive looting and vandalizing of MNG Gold properties. The company said it lost over US$2.7 million in the destruction and looting of its properties.

Despite the losses, the company says it is keen on cementing its relationship with the communities where it operates and therefore has embarked on several interactions with stakeholders of the communities.

Mr. Umurhan along with the other managers of MNG Gold Liberia visited Sayewheh Town in Kokoya district on the evening of Sunday, 9 December at 8 pm to express their condolence with the families who lost their relatives in the motor accident.

The bereaved families, town elders, chiefs, women, youths and sympathizers welcomed Mr. Umurhan and MNG Gold management team, and later the CEO and his entourage expressed their sympathy to the bereaved families.

People of Sayewheh town expressed their appreciation for the improved relationship between the company and their community following the incident.

Later, the MNG CEO presented food packages which included chicken, rice and oil to the families along with LRD$ 316, 000 to the Chief Elder of the town, Adolphus B. G. Zackpah, who is expected to distribute the items among the four bereaved families.

The company, at the same time, committed to employing four people – one person from each bereaved family – and assured that it will “look after the children and families of the deceased ones left behind”.

Meanwhile, on November 27, 2018, people of Kokoyah Statutory District, Bong County paid a courtesy call on the Management of MNG Gold Liberia to apologize for the wrongful actions of some residents who illegally entered the company’s camp, looted and vandalized the company’s property.

Many of the alleged pillagers were later arrested by the Liberia National Police and it was established that they were all residents of the communities in close proximity with the company.

Speaking to the management of the company, the residents presented white handkerchief, white kola nuts, and white chicken as their usual traditional symbol representing pure heart and gesture of friendship.

“What happened here we have come to apologize to give your sorry for the one that happened on your side,” said one elder during the courtesy meeting.

Abraham Juah, who claims to be the head of the illicit miners in the area, also “condemned the act carried out by our brothers and sister.”

“If we (illicit miners) remain silent it will not be fine because I believe 60 percent of the act [that was] done in the fence came from the gold miners, so I’m saying sorry for it and forgive us. I can assure you it will not happen again,” Juah said.

The youth representative of the community assured the MNG Gold management that they will continue to work with the company.

Another community leader said that unscrupulous people tried to take advantage of the accident and carried out destruction of MNG Gold property, but he also pleaded with the company for forgiveness and called for “cordiality between MNG management and the community of Sayewheh Town.”

Some of the community leaders said it was important that they “condemn it in the strongest voice that what have happened we pray that this will never happen again.”

At the same time, the community leaders requested more dialogues with the company in order to avert re-occurrence and further solidify the relationship.

Responding to the apology of the community, the management of MNG Gold admonished the community to always seek dialogue instead of igniting violence.

“What we need to do afterward are two things: we will keep communicating with each other and we will be finding the solution together within a logical way in communication… one by one we will solve those problems,” said Mr. Mehmet Ozolcum, General Mananger of MNG Gold’s Kokoya mine.

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