A Threat To Concession Companies’ Assets …Citizens Speak Out On Withdrawal Of Armed Guards

Some citizens of Liberia have spoken out against government’s plan to withdraw armed guards from concession companies’ facilities across the country describing the move as a major threat to the assets of companies operating in the country.

In an exclusive interview recently following the violent protest in Kinjor, Grand Cape Mounty County, the citizens said the pan by the government to withdraw armed security forces from these companies will discourage from doing business in the country and will have an avert effect on the new administration of President Joseph N. Boakai.

Since the violent protest by citizens of Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County that led to the death and destruction of equipment belonging to Bea Mountain-a concession company operating in the county and properties belonging to other citizens of the county, there have been reports that the Government of Liberia mainly the Legislature is contemplating on informing the Executive to withdraw security officers from concession areas in the country.

This according to our information, is a result of a communication to the House of Representatives by Rep. Mohammed Dossi praying that august body to ensure that security forces are withdrawn from these concession sites.

Rep. Dosii is the one who led group of protesters at the Bea Mountain Mining site which resorted to the deaths of some citizens, the injuries of several police officers and the destruction of the company’s equipment and damaged of others’ properties.

In response to his communication, the House is said to be currently deliberating the prospect of urging the Executive branch to withdraw security forces from all mining company’s facilities in Liberia.

But many of the citizens in concession areas have expressed their opposition to the discussion in the House and called on the Executive Branch not to follow such advise as it will scare away investors and leave the country thus, leaving ordinary citizens vulnerable.

Mohammed Donsu, a commercial driver who lives in one of the concession areas said taking away armed guards from these companies will leave the companies vulnerable as there will be no one to protect their assets and could cause serious impediment for the operations of these companies.

“We already know how our people are violent and allowing the security forces to leave their concession areas will be a disaster, as you are well informed, our young people have become so violent to the extent that every little thing will cause them to destroy lives and properties,” Sarah Doe, a marketer told the TNR over the weekend.

“Let the government revisit the concession agreements between these companies and the Liberian Government and see whether it is necessary to provide them with armed guards because if these people’s properties and equipment are not protected how can they do business here,” Sarah wondered.

This the citizens said will scare away investors mostly those contemplating in coming to invest in the country as concession companies love to work in a peaceful and friendly environment where their assets will be protected by the government.

In Section 11.2 (a) of the Mineral Development Agreement between the Government of Liberia and Bea Mountain it is clearly stated, “The Company may, directly or by contract with a responsible provider of security services, establish, manage and maintain its own asset and employee security and protection service 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 through its own security force and to do so always in accordance with Law and rules and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Justice relating to security forces. Such security force shall not bear arms and shall at all times operate subject to the authority of, and coordination with the Liberia National Police.”

Clause (b) of the same Section further states that, “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.”

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