A group of men armed with cutlasses and other deadly weapons attacked Five Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) Security officers who were patrolling the facilities of the company in Grand Cape Mount County on Tuesday. National Security officers in the county told this paper.
“The men, we were told around 30, rushed from the bush and came on the five officers who were on patrol. As soon as that happened, the officers decided to escape because they could not stand the men. They outnumbered them. In that process, one of them caught and scraped naked and beaten,” the officer who declined to be named said
The wounded officer, Anthony Thamba later fought his way to the main road where he was spotted by an SDPL vehicle. He was later rushed to the company’s clinic where he is undergoing treatment.
SDPL security officers do not carry fire arm, but only batton and handcuff approved by the Ministry of Justice.
A family member confirmed the incident saying, “such situation places the lives of the security officers in danger. This is not the first time for such attack on the security officers. This will make people afraid to become security here. Anyone can just jump and attack them,” Rufus Samba, said.
The local national officer in the county said, Thamba Anthony – Suffered multiple wounds and forwarded in Bomi Estate Clinic, while John Sombai – was Beaten and striped naked by the perpetrators. He is also at the clinic undergoing treatment. The other officers were, Steven Kpeh and Emmanuel Tarr who sustained injuries as well.
This is not the fist time for such incident to occur at the plantation. It can be recalled that last month, a seminar incident occurred in which an officer was shot at by criminals who have gone to steal palm brunch from the plantation. A locally made gun was used to shoot the security at the time.
Residents in the counties as well as some government officials have frowned on the attacks.
“We are not happy with this development. We think this is a well planned and organized crimes being carried out here. Our counties name is getting a bad image outside,” one senior government officer in the county who declined to be name said.
The issue of palm theft at the plantation is rife. The company has planted about ten thousand hectors of palm. Also, it has constructed a mini mill for processing fresh palm brunch. Currently, it is sponsoring several students on its scholarship program.
At the plantation, the company is running several schools and providing buses for students to and from school. Not only that, but also the provision of clean drinking water as well as the construction of a modern estate for its workers.
Quoting company sources, the theft at the plantation is over brings a loss of US$30,000(thirty thousand monthly) against it.
The government is under obligation to provide protection for all investment in the country, but that has not been active according to residents in the communities.
There are several illegal mills being operated around the plantation, especially Medina. Recently, youths and some residents in Medina staged a peaceful protest calling on the company to add them to The Project Affected Communities (PAC); which will enable them to get some benefits from the company. Paradoxically, Medina is where almost all the illegal mills operate and where the shooting of the security officers occurred.
“The situation is serious. We want the government to come and protect the company,” one resident, Adolphus Kamara said.
Police sources in the county, confirmed the incident. They have not been able to make any arrest.