By Esau J. Farr
Weeks following the reported vandalism of MNG Gold premises and facilities in Kokoyah District, Upper Bog County, citizens of the district have ended a one day peace dialogue with the company.
MNG Gold is a Turkish mineral mining company operating in the Upper Central County of Bong in Kokoyah Statutory District.
According to a prominent citizen of Kokoyah, J. Roosevelt Kerkulah, the meeting with authorities of the company was organized to allow citizens of Kokoyah and authorities of the company to put behind them the fresh bitterness memories which existed between the two groups as a result of reported vandalism at the operation site of the company triggered by the killing of four citizens of Sayeweh Town by a Pick-up allegedly hired by MNG Gold on November 5, 2018.
Sayweh Town is a predominant Bassa settlement in Upper Kokoyah, a big town close to the operation site of MNG Gold.
During the meeting on Wednesday November 28, 2018, citizens of Kokoyah expressed regret over the loss of the lives of four of their citizens and the reported vandalism carried out by some criminal minded individuals within the operational site of the company putting the company and citizens of the district at lager head while at the same time brewing lasting conflicts.
The citizens clarified that they were not in the presence of authorities of the company to appreciate them for the loss of their sons and daughter on that fateful Monday of November 5 of this year, but all bitterness that have long existed between them (company) and citizens of Kokoyah.
There have been strains of uneasiness between citizens of Kokoyah and the company since the start of its operation in the area which had mainly been marred by reports of ill treatments ranging from environmental pollution and threats and other harmful practices against inhabitants of the operation site of the company.
Weeks prior to the incident resulting to the death of four of their kinsmen, citizens of the town from which four of the persons killed in the motor accident came, complained of an alleged chemical spill-over which caused dozens of students and others in Sayeweh Town to cough with blood a situation that was confirmed by the Phebe Hospital in Suakoko, Bong County.
In February of 2016, a truck hired by the company to transport a hydrochloric acid to the company’s mining site felt near a village called Barkon Town affecting dozen of persons, six of whom were treated at the Phebe Hospital at the expense of an eminent citizen of Kokoyah and former President of the Kokoyah Citizens Union, James D. Jackson.
Though the company denied that the chemical was harmful, but it was observed that in less than 24 hours the tree under which the truck felt resulting to the wasting of the chemical caused a more than 40 years old tree dried from the leaves to the roots deep into the soil.
Additionally, in mid-2016, a local daily hire contractor, a citizen of Kokoyah was allegedly thrown down from the first floor of a two story building by a Turkish national after a misunderstanding seriously injuring him. The victim was said to have broken one of his hands and had a spring spine at his back.
The matter was reported to have been swept under the carpet after MNG Gold authorities managed and sent away the perpetrator to his native Turkey aiding him to escape justice.
Many local miners who moved to David Dean’s Town (Gold Camp) where the company is based have and continue to complain of inhumane treatments meted out against them by both authorities and security forces of the company with some allegedly made crippled for life time after coming in contact with security personnel mending guard at the facilities of MNG Gold.
Despite the smoking of a peace pipe by the two parties, about 70 persons arrested in connection to the alleged vandalism remained behind bars while they go on trial in court of laws.
Has been in the profession for over twenty years. He has worked for many international media outlets including: West Africa Magazine, Africa Week Magazine, African Observer and did occasional reporting for CNN, BBC World Service, Sunday Times, NPR, Radio Deutchewells, Radio Netherlands. He is the current correspondent for Reuters
He holds first MA with honors in International Relations and a candidate for second master in International Peace studies and Conflict Resolution from the University of Liberia.