At least 67 aliens and illegal miners have been arrested over the last few days at borders and gold mining camps in Grand Kru County, following Surveillance Border Operations, headed by Hendris Daye of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS).
The arrest of the foreign gold miners, mainly Ghanaians, has disrupted mining activities and sparked a widespread letup in the County.
In a telephone interview with the Daily Observer over the weekend, LIS’ compass man, Prince Tobee of Surveillance Border Operations, said they have submitted a preliminary report to the headquarters of LIS in Monrovia regarding the aliens who are currently being detained in Sasstown.
Tobee said the operation has confirmed the entry into Grand Kru County of large numbers of foreign nationals, purposely in search of gold and diamond, a situation which has drawn the attention of local authorities.
“Moreover, we have observed that these foreign nationals came in the country with lots of mining equipment,’ Tobee told this newspaper via mobile phone.
Tobee is also the Grand Kru County LIS’ commander of the Border Patrol Unit.
He said Surveillance Border Operations is expected to formally end any time soon, “but there will be lots of off-the-record border patrols to curb aliens based on headquarters’ instruction.”
However, the Daily Observer spoke to a Ghanaian, only known as Nana, in Sasstown. Nana said the head of their community is working with the LIS as well as the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy in Monrovia, to regularize their status.
“Over 50 of us were arrested from about three gold mining camps and brought back to Sasstown, a nearby security hub, because we don’t have the proper papers. We are here, and our head is trying his best to obtain the necessary papers from the Liberian Immigration authority and any other agency,” Nana said.
“The reason for the gold rush in Liberia is to develop our lives. We cannot be suffering in Ghana, when there is news of gold and diamond in Liberia and we can come and work to benefit our families,” he told this newspaper via mobile phone.
Two weeks ago, LIS’ detachment of Grand Kru County intensified its patrols, following warnings from the agency’s Commissioner General Lemuel E. Reeves, alerting security personnel assigned in the County to stop the illegal entry of foreign nationals.
According to the tentative schedule of the Surveillance Patrol, the LIS said there will be an intensive patrol in the Sasstown region and its environs, including surveillance patrol at the Buah region.
Additionally, the scheduled patrol will include Barclayville City, the County’s political capital, and its environs. This, accordingly, will be inspected intensively, while there will be an intensive patrol of the entire Forpoh Region, where gold and diamond minerals are heavily concentrated.
It may be recalled that Grand Kru County District 2 Representative Jonathan Fonati Koffa told a news conference recently that illegal mining is on the rise in his district, a situation, he said, that poses a serious security threat to residents.
The Chairman on the House’s Committee on National Security Representative Alfred Koiwood of Gbarpolu County, via mobile phone yesterday, said, “the reported influx of illegal aliens and/or foreigners nationwide, specifically in mineral rich communities, raises concern among his colleagues, particularly law enforcement agencies, including lawmakers who are the direct representatives of the people.”