Liberia: 55 Arrested for Allegedly Carrying Out Massive Looting at Mining Company’s Facilities
Bong County – Following a tragic motor accident on the evening of Monday November 5, 2018, that led to the deaths of four persons which subsequently resulted to serious tension in Sayewheh Town, Boisen District Bong County, the Bong County Police Detachment has arrested 55 persons in connection to the vandalization of the properties of MNG Gold, a Turkish Mining Company operating g in the area.
Report by P. Clarence Jackson [email protected]
The accident occurred when a Toyota Hilux Pickup belonging to a Chinese firm contracted by MNG Gold ran into a motorcycle, killing the passenger and rider, as well as two other persons who were coming from their farms.
Few minutes later, angry citizens set ablaze the vehicle and later moved into the company’s facility few minutes away from the accident scene and vandalized several of its properties.
Several eye witnesses told this paper that the citizens cut off the entire electricity supply in the company’s facility making the area dark for several hours while the looting was taking place.
An employee of the company who begged not to be named said “We were very afraid because the entire area was dark for almost two hours, but our technicians later put on the small generator at which time the entire place had been looted”.
Few hours later, Police Support Unit officers from the Gbarnga Regional Justice and Security Hub responded to ensure the protection of lives and properties.
Bong County Police Detachment Commander Fedrick Nappy who is still in the area with a team of senior police officers from Monrovia told this paper that the company’s entire facilities were looted.
“If you came to Sayewheh Town at the moment, you will know that the people really caused the company serious damage”.
“We have arrested 55 persons including men and women in connection with the looting after surveillance report from the CCTV security Camera”.
Col. Nappy said, some of the suspects have already admitted entering the company’s facility during the night of the incident.
“Although calm has returned here, more arrest will be made today because we are still getting information about people in connection with the looting of the facility”.
On Tuesday, Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, Bong County Superintendent Esther Walker and the Chairman of the Bong County Legislative Caucus Senator Henry Yallah as well as Representative Albert Hills who is the direct Representative of the area in the 54th National Legislature visited Sayewheh Town and the company’s facility as part of efforts to get firsthand information about the situation in the area.
During a meeting with the citizens in Sayewheh, Minister Sirleaf and others assured the citizens that all will be done to ensure their relatives are given a befitting burial. He, however, condemned in the strongest term the action of some citizens the loot the facilities of the Company because of the situation.
There has been growing tension between the people of Sayewheh town and MNG Gold for several months over allegations that the Company was not living up to the implementation of projects as provided for in its mineral development agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding it signed with the citizens, allegations that Company has persistently denied.
Recently, the people of Sayewheh town again accused the Company of using Chemicals that are affecting their children who are attending the Sayewheh town Public school.
At the moment, citizens of Bong County are divided over the current situation in Sayewhen. Some people believed that although the accident led to the deaths of four citizens who lives are precious, the people should not have burned the vehicle and loot the Company’s facilities.
Others are arguing that there have been several early warning sounds coming from the area as the result of consistent conflict situation between the Company and the people but the leadership of the County and Caucus did nothing to intervene and resolve the situation.