Liberia News: PRO-MEDIA GROUP CONDEMNS CITIZENS’ ACTION

Monrovia-March-4-TNR:A pro-media group, the African Journalists Network of Liberia, (AJNeL) has strongly condemned the recent violence in Grand Cape Mount County that led to the death of some individuals and the destruction of Bea Mountain, a concession company operating in the county equipment and properties belongings to some residents.

In a press statement, the group noted that  condemned the manner in which the protest action was carried out by some citizens of Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County at the Concession areas of the Bea Mountain Mining Company which led to the death of a Liberian, and the wounding several citizens including State security officers, destruction of hundreds of thousands of United States dollars properties belonging to the company and other private citizens and the government of Liberia.

“The African Journalists Network of Liberia, (AJNeL) wants to categorically condemn in the strongest terms the barbaric actions carried out in Kinjor disregarding the rule of law. While it is true that the law provides for peaceful assembly, it also calls for respect and the protection upholding the rule of law,” the statement noted.

The group added, “We believe this isn’t how locals of any concession areas should vent out their grievances. We are calling on the citizens to refrain from allowing themselves to be used by selfish politicians to achieve their aims at the larger expense of the citizenry.”

AJNeL further noted, “Not only that but also, we want the company to listen to the concerns of the citizens and sit on the round table to resolve it as they have done over the past time.”

“Our findings showed that the protestors, among other things, are calling for the reinstatement of the Union Head and the Community Engagement Superintendent, and the removal of Liberians to replace with citizens of Cape Mount.  The Construction of a Vocational institute, the withdrawal of armed officers from the company’s facilities, etc., how can we as citizens allow our greed and selfish politicians like Representative Mohammed Dosi contradict ourselves?  In one of their counts, they called for a Vocational Training Center. It will interest you to know that the Institute was built and dedicated last year, but they destroyed it. Also, they want the reinstatement of Mr. Henry Vincent and Mr. Sando Whyne in their respective positions,” the pro-media group noted.

The group noted that its investigation established that Vincent is on record for inciting workers to protest and later apologized for his action to the company. Mr. Whyne, whom I respect also, was fired from the company for an alleged act of criminality.

According to the group, currently, many top senior managerial positions are occupied by sons and daughters from Cape Mount adding, “We condemn the destruction of the vocational school they have been calling for. You have destroyed and whom do you expect to rebuild?”

“It baffles my mind that a lawmaker who should understand law has failed to read the instrument which both the Liberian government and Bea Mountain Mining Company signed-The Mineral Development Agreement-MDA.”  

According to the group, Section 12 b of that MDA states b, “In the event the Company deems it absolutely necessary to have armed guards for the purpose of protecting assets in the Production Area and in the immediate vicinity of other locations at which Company has or maintains property and assets, the Company shall make a written request to the Government. The Government shall provide armed guards as needed, which expense shall be borne by the Company.”

The pro-media group added that this government came to power through the mandate of its citizens and with the desire to bring in investors and create an enabling environment in which everyone will live and work freely.

“But the attitude exhibited which showed that a lawmaker was supporting the protestors, does not speak well of our young democracy. Who takes responsibility of the death of that person that died? If a lawmaker who is supposed to ensure that the laws are respected can lead violent protests, then, we may be heading for the wrong path,” the group pointed out.

The Journalists Network added that it was also established that some peaceful citizens’ properties were damaged. “We are calling on the honorable Speaker of the House of Representative, Fanati Koffa to investigate Rep. Mohammed Dosi because we were told that he supported the protest. The act of protestation must never be encouraged in concession areas, lest talk of lawmakers giving backing.”

At the same time, the group wants those responsible for the destruction of properties as well as the death be prosecuted and held accountable.

“Tell me, if there were no armed men in the operation area, what would have been the situation? The African Journalists Network of Liberia wants to commend the government of Liberia for her fast-sightedness in launching a speedy investigation into the matter and restoring calm to the area.”

Among other things, the pro-media group noted, “Finally, we call on the Management of Bea Mining Company and the government of Liberia to sit at a round table to listen to the concerns of the Citizens and work for the interest of everyone.

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