A group of men, reportedly armed with cutlasses and other deadly weapons, including a short single barrel gun, on Tuesday, August 28, allegedly attacked five Sime Darby’s Plantation-Liberia (SDPL) security officers, who were patrolling the company’s facilities in Grand Cape Mount County. The attackers reportedly overpowered the officers, allegedly taking one of them as hostage.
National security assigned officers in the county told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that, “The men, we were told, were about 30 in number, emerged from a bush path and attacked the security guard post, thus taking one officer as hostage.”
As soon as that happened, the officers decided to escape, because they could hardly withstand the force from the assailants, who outnumbered them.
The assailants also reportedly left one of the officers stark-naked, after they had beaten him. The officer has since been admitted to a local health facility.”
The wounded officer has been identified as Anthony Tamba.
SDPL security officers do not carry fire arms except batons and handcuffs approved by authorities of the Ministry of Justice.
A family member confirmed the incident and said such a situation places the lives of the company’s security officers in danger.
“This is not the first time for such attack on security officers. This will make people afraid to become security guards at SDPL. Anyone can just jump and attack them,” a resident, Rufus Samba, said.
The local national officer in the county said their wounded colleagues suffered multiple wounds, and has been admitted at the Bomi Estate Clinic, while another security officer, John Sombai, was reportedly beaten and stripped naked by the alleged perpetrators.
The victim was also admitted at the clinic and is undergoing treatment.
The unfortunate officers were identified as Steven Kpeh and Emmanuel Tarr, who sustained injuries as well.
This is not the fist time for such an incident to have taken place at the plantation.
It can be recalled that on August 19, a similar incident occurred when suspected criminals allegedly shot one of the company’s guards. The alleged criminal had gone to steal palm brunches from the plantation.
A locally-made gun was used to shoot the security at the time. Residents in the counties as well as some government officials have frowned on the attacks. “We are not happy with this development. We think this is a well planned and organized crime being carried out here. The names of our counties are being given a bad image outside,” one senior government officer in the county, who declined to be named, said.
The issue of palm theft at the plantation is rife. The company has planted about ten thousand hectares of palm and constructed a mini mill for processing fresh palm brunch.
Recently, youths and some residents in Medina staged a peaceful protest, calling on the company to add them to The Project Affected Communities (PAC), which will enable them to get some benefits from the company.
Paradoxically, Medina is where almost all the illegal mills operate, and where the shooting of the security officers occurred. “The situation is serious. We want the government to come and protect the company,” one resident, Adolphus Kamara, said.
Police sources in the county confirmed the incident, but have not been able to make any arrest up to press time last night.