In Grand Cape Mount County: Citizens Raise Eyebrows Over Military Deployment at Gold Mining Sites

By: Laymah Kollie

CapeMount-February 27,2024: Several citizens of Grand Cape Mount County are raising serious concerns over the deployment of military personnels at Gold mining sites in the county.

The deployment of men and women of the Arm Forces of Liberia at various mining sites under the control of the Bea Mountain Mining Company (BMMC) has sparked fears amongst residents of the mining area, leading them to pursuing government’s intervention.

The situation which has allegedly been ongoing for at least two years, has drawn the attention of Grand Cape County Senator, Dabah Varpilah, prompting an official communication from her office to the plenary of the Liberian Senate.

During the 13th Day Sitting of the 1st Session of the 55th Legislature on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, Senator Varpilah expressed her discontent with the deployment of these military officers, expanding on her communication to the plenary.
“Strangely, about two years ago or less, there was a deployment of a large number of armed military personnel in the concession area and the community, creating fears among the residents,” Senator Varpilah narrated.

According to her, concerned citizens have consistently complained to her office about the matter. She recounted that almost two weeks ago, residents staged a protest against the company, with one of their key issues being the deployment of military personnel.

In their petition, they urged the government to withdraw the military from the concession area; noting that such deployment had not occurred before in any concession area to their recollection.

Referencing other gold mining areas, the Sen. Varpilah indicated ongoing gold mining by MNG Gold Liberia in Bong County without AFL personnel deployment. She also mentioned the ongoing operations of Liberia’s steel giant, ArcelorMittal, in Nimba County, where there is no military deployment, unlike in Grand Cape Mount County.

“We know that even in urban areas, military deployment signifies a serious security issue, let alone in the interior. Residents are always in fear when they see military personnel, so they are calling for their withdrawal,” she emphasized.

Senator Varpilah also questioned the security rationale behind deploying military officers to areas where civilians reside.
However, she requested the plenary to invite authorities of the security apparatus to appear and explain the reasoning behind the military deployment among peaceful citizens at the concession area.

“If there are local security concerns, civilian settings should typically involve police officers, not armed military personnel. I implore this honorable body to request the withdrawal of armed personnel from Kinjor and Gbangomahn, as I have been informed that military personnel have also been deployed in the new site,” she noted.

Meanwhile, the plenary of the Liberian Senate has forwarded the communication to the Committee on Security, Defense, Intelligence, and Veteran Affairs to report back to the body subsequently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *