Criminal activities are reportedly on the rise in Gbarpolu County and creating fear among locals. The report comes amid the abandonment and demolishing of all major check points previously manned by security personnel.
In the wake of the report, the Daily Observer has learnt that so-called ‘country devils’ have now taken over the functions of security personnel previously assigned at those facilities.
Several residents, who spoke to our reporter recently in Bopolu District, expressed fear of the rise in criminal activities, which they alleged have also affected the newly inaugurated service center in the county, as “it has been burglarized.”
In the aftermath of the reported burglary, the air-conditioner that was installed in the service center is still missing.
Other citizens pointed out that Bopolu District, which is allegedly occupied by illicit miners, is the worst hit by the alleged criminal activities, because the rogues roam the communities reportedly stealing, and smuggling pieces of diamonds, gold and other valuables out of the county.
The citizens blamed the situation on the lack of security check points where security personnel were assigned to observe the movement of passersby.
It was alleged by community residents that the miners, mostly from neighboring countries, use motorcycles to carry on their illegal activities, which are reportedly linked to the unprecedented wave of the criminality in the county.
Immigration and Police officers who spoke anonymously confirmed the alarming rate of criminal activities in the district. They said the situation is as is due to the lack of adequate number of state security personnel along with the appropriate and necessary logistical support to patrol the county’s various entry points and the mining areas inside the dense forest.
Bopolu and Gbarma districts have two police details, but the rest of the districts have no such facilities, neither do they have security personnel assigned there.
Other sources told our reporter that due to the lack of security personnel in rural parts of Gbarpolu, ‘country devils’ have taken over security matters.
Subsequently, Henry and Fanwen towns in Bopolu district have witnessed a series of ‘country devil’ activities that have reportedly prevented the Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), an international non-governmental organization, from fulfilling its obligations to an orphanage home in the area. The charity workers have meanwhile reportedly threatened to pull out of the area.
Anthony T. Reeves, CAM’s Public Relations Officer, confirmed to the Daily Observer of receiving reports of ‘country devil’ activities in the area.
“The issue of country devil,” he said, “is the locals’ way of life; and because of that, CAM Orphanage Support Program Administrator Samuel Kpaa works with them to ensure that the orphans have a bright future. CAM is constructing a 12-classroom school at the estimated cost of US$50,000 to host two hundred to three hundred students in Gbarque Town, only to give the orphans and some of the wayward children hope for the future.
Therefore, we cannot withdraw from the area completely.”
John Gondone, a miner who recently travelled to Henry and Fanwen towns, told the Daily Observer how the citizens often assemble their ‘country devils’ whenever there is a dispute between citizens and any of the miners – something he said mostly leads to rising tensions.