Bomi, Grand Cape Mount Counties-It was a sad news for the family of Joseph Gissi and the Sime Darby Plantation when a gang of criminals attacked and wounded him last week. The palm theft has been ongoing for sometimes at the planation with government doing little to protect the investment.
This time, patrolman Joseph K. Gissi was badly beaten by illicit harvesters and severely wounded.
According to security officers, Patrolman Gissi met this untimely situation after he and others arrested a lady in the plantation hauling Fresh Fruits Branch (FFB). Most often, citizens from nearby town are the key culprits of this.
The group of illicit harvesters angered by the arrest of their member went on the rampage by beating Patrolman Gissi and forcibly taking him to a nearby town, Bessao Town where he was turned over to the chairlady.
He was later released by the chairlady after already suffering severe beating which left bruises to his eye and other parts of his part.
This is not the first in recent months as Sime Darby Security guards have come under series of attacks from illicit harvesters with many sustaining severe injuries in the process.
These attacks against the company security have created huge burden to the company with high cost of medical treatment for the injured security guards.
On a regular basis, illicit harvesters attack Sime Darby Security who stand in their way, to prevent them from illegal harvesting of palm from the company’s plantation.
According to company sources, records show that the company continues to incur losses in thousands of United States dollars from the illegal harvesting of palm. This is
As a result of this, the company is now undergoing series challenges in terms of solving the theft issue. The stealing is said to be taking place in Medina town.
Few months ago, another security guard was shot and sustained multiple injuries where he is still undergoing recovery. That one, nearly die as a result of the wounds he sustained from from gun shots.
The story of Patrolman Gissi is just one of many terrible situations taking place at the Sime Darby Plantation.
On August 28, a group of armed men with cutlasses and other deadly weapons including a short single barrel gun, attacked five Sime Darby’s Plantation-Liberia security officers who were patrolling the company’s facilities.
The attackers overpowered the security and took one hostage. Security Officer Anthony Tamba was several beaten with bruises on his back during the incident.
The illicit harvesters rely on Sime Darby plantation to supply their illegal mills nearby. These events are taking place without help from the Government of Liberia to curtail the illegal palm theft despite a provision in the concession agreement providing for the government to protect the investor by ensuring that there is no processing mill with 60 kilometers of the concession area.
Section 5.4 of the Concession agreement states “License to Third Party. Government represents and warrants that it shall not, throughout the Term of Concession Agreement, grant any license to any third parties to construct or to operate (I) any rubber buying stations within ten (10) kilometers of the border of the Concession Area, (II) any oil processing plant or buying station within sixty (60) kilometers of the border of the Concession Area, and (iii) any rubber processing plant within sixty (60) kilometers of the border of the Concession Area so as to ensure that the operations of Investor are not interfered with or impeded”.
Despite this provision of the concession agreement there are several illegal mills being operated within the proximity of the Sime Darby Concession area.
The company has informed the relevant authorities but nothing has been done to remedy the salutation.