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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Liberia: Withdrawing Armed Guards From Concession Areas: Winners & Losers

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Some Locals in Liberia have expressed their concerns over the government’s plan to withdraw armed guards from concession companies’ facilities across the country. They argue that this move poses a significant threat to the assets of companies operating in Liberia.

Following a violent protest in Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County, where equipment belonging to Bea Mountain, a concession company, and properties of other citizens were destroyed, reports emerged that the Liberian government, particularly the Legislature, was considering withdrawing security officers from concession areas.

These reports were prompted by a communication to the House of Representatives from Rep. Mohammed Dossi, who had led the protest at the Bea Mountain Mining site. Rep. Dossi’s communication requested the withdrawal of security forces from mining company facilities.

The House is currently deliberating on this matter, contemplating urging the Executive branch to withdraw security forces from all mining company facilities in Liberia.

However, many citizens living in concession areas oppose this discussion and urge the Executive Branch not to follow such advice, as it may deter investors and leave ordinary citizens vulnerable.

Citizens argue that removing armed guards from these companies’ facilities would leave the companies exposed to potential threats, jeopardizing their operations. They also express concern about the potential for violence among the local population, which could result in the destruction of lives and properties.

Sarah Doe, a marketer, emphasized the importance of protecting the assets and equipment of concession companies in order to attract investors who prefer to operate in a peaceful and secure environment.

“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,”

Citizens are calling on the government to reevaluate the concession agreements between these companies and the Liberian government.

They suggest that if the companies’ properties and equipment are not adequately protected, it may negatively impact their ability to conduct business in the country.

The Mineral Development Agreement between the Liberian government and Bea Mountain, for example, allows the company to establish its own security force, subject to the authority and coordination of the Liberia National Police.

However, should the company require armed guards, it must seek written approval from the government, with the expenses to be borne by the company.

As the deliberations in the House of Representatives continue, citizens hope that the government will prioritize the protection of concession companies’ assets, while also considering the potential consequences of withdrawing armed guards, both for the companies and the overall investment climate in Liberia.

 

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