Liberia: Residents Decry Illicit Mining In Schiefflin Township

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Hundreds of pickup trucks haul loads of sand away each day and night

Boys Town Community, Schiefflin Township – Residents in the Boys Town Community, Schiefflin Township are pleading with the government to come to their aid as illegal miners continue to mine sand and causing grave environmental hazard to the community.

Janet Konneh, a resident in the area who has been writing several letters to Senators and legislators, drawing attention to the residents’ plight says the ZORKPAH TOWN BEACH,  located in the Boys Town Community, Schiefflin Township, Margibi County, a mile from Boys Town Junction off Marshall Road to the right is becoming a haven for illegal mining.

‘Victim of Attack’

“We desperately need the intervention of the Ministry of Mines & Energy/Coastal  Defense, EPA,  Maritime and any relevant authority,” Konneh wrote in a letter to Senator Armah Jallah recently.

Sadly, the area resident said, on numerous  occasions, the police at Schefflin Township appear unable to stop the illicit sand mining. “Either lack of logistics or willingly complacent,  the latter is likely because, the officers will arrest the pickup trucks, and within some 30 minutes or less  you will see the identical pickup trucks coming back to the beach for sand and raining insults at the affected residents. While I was in Liberia, I became a victim of their brutal verbal insults and threats to do me bodily harm for standing up to them.”

Konneh explained that there is continuous 24-hour, 7-day beach mining taking place. “Hundreds of pickup trucks haul loads of sand away each day and night by the directive of the Town Chief of Zorkpah Town, Mr. Honest Juah. It is a commercial business for them. They are charging each pick-up truck some 200 plus LD per load at their make-shift gate.”

“We desperately need the intervention of the Ministry of Mines & Energy/Coastal  Defense, EPA,  Maritime and any relevant authority,” Konneh wrote in a letter to Senator Armah Jallah recently.

Janet Konneh, A Resident of Boys Town

She says the beach mining is an imminent erosion threat to the beach community that is endangering lives and properties. “The illicit sand mining created a path that is now allowing the sea water to come gushing in at will and worst at high tide. An artificial lagoon that was never there, has been created, and is violently accelerating erosion as the sea brings in water and is breeding high level of mosquitos, etc.”

She explained that on Saturday, June 6, the community got together piled up dirt to block the entrance to the beach. But the said Town Chief and a group of thugs came in numbers, showed up, insulting, and making terroristic threats and violently reopened a path for the sand pickup trucks to continue illegally mining in total disregard to government’s regulations, the safety and risk to the community. 

In fact, Madam Konneh says, the erosion is inching upon and shall collapse, in time, one of the residents, Dr. Soma’s beautiful home.  “This is a very serious matter. We are destroying our beautiful beaches. What we need is actual enforcement, and with stern directive to the LNP at Schiefflin Township.” 

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