(LINA) – Rangers of the Park Conservation Department have arrested six men and turned them over to the Liberia National Police in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh for illegally entering the Sapo National Park in Sinoe County.
According to the County Crime Services Division (CSD) Commander, Mr. Victor Zeon, the suspects, including five Liberians and a Nigerian, were taken to his office on Monday, where they were formally charged with criminal conspiracy and criminal trespass and forwarded to the Zwedru Magisterial Court for prosecution.
Mr. Burton M. Kawah, Chief Park Warden at the Sapo Park, told the Liberia News Agency that the six suspects were arrested among many illicit miners at the park, who were earlier warned several times to desist from their act and leave the park.
According to Kawah, the conservation department held several community meetings during which it was agreed that all illicit miners immediately leave the park.
Kawah further disclosed that on August 13, his rangers took a verification tour around the park to ascertain whether the concerned men had vacated the reserved area.
He informed LINA that during the tour, one of his rangers was shot at by the illegal miners who are presently at-large, but he survived the shooting.
The Senior Solicitor at the City Magisterial Court, Mr. Philip Greene, informed LINA that the case is being adjudicated, and that the alleged suspects are being made to enjoy their Miranda rights under the law, including the right to bail or to communicate with their lawyers.
He said the suspects entered the park through Boe Geewon in Grand Gedeh County near River Cess County but were arrested at a place called Afghanistan Camp, Zone 2 in Nyenawleken, Dugbe District in Sinoe County.
According to him, the alleged suspects were brought to Zwedru by a team of 12 rangers of the Park Conservation Department headed by Mr. Kawah, while many rangers are currently in the park for proper surveillance.