The Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney A. Sirleaf, together with a team of land experts, is in South-eastern Liberia to resolve renewed tensions arising over land disputes among people of that region. The disputes are both intra and inter, meaning that they exist among people in a particular county and between counties.
A release from the Ministry of Internal Affairs notes that Minister Sirleaf and his team from the Liberia Land Authority will investigate the intra boundary case within River Gee County between people of Chedepo-Geeken and Potupo-Gbarquiah. These two tribal settlements according to MIA release have been in violent clashes to the extent of brushing or destroying rice farms belonging to the people of Potupo-Gbarquiah allegedly by the people of Chedepo-Geeken on grounds that the disputed area falls within the tribal land of Chedepo-Geeken.
Minister Sirleaf and the team, the release said, will also investigate a boundary dispute between the people of Barrobo in Maryland and the people of Gbeapo-Tartuken of River Gee County. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a group of Gbeapo-Tartuken citizens threatened tribal war with their neighbors on the side of the border due to what they termed as an encroachment on their ancestral land for mining purposes and other commercial activities without benefiting them.
In another development, Minister Sirleaf is expected to look into a long-running boundary dispute between Maryland and Grand Kru Counties along the Wlowian and Behwan regions. The two counties are yet to agree on an identified border point between Wlowian in Maryland, and Behwan in Grand Kru County since Grand Kru was declared a county in 1984. Grand Kru was first called Kru Coast Territory.
During his stay in the south-east, the Internal Affairs Minister, who was instructed by the President of Liberia to make an intervention in disputes arising over land in the region, will visit Garaway, Grand Kru County and Tarjunwon statutory district, Sinoe County to interact with traditional, youth and women leaders who have been raising qualms about the operations of Golden Veroleum, a Malaysian oil palm company that invested in that part of Liberia after the civil war.
Citizens in the operation areas of Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) have been contending that the company has allegedly violated the Memorandum of Understanding entered into with them, which has resulted in the company encroaching on their sacred land among other things. Citizens in both Grand Kru and Sinoe are therefore demanding the immediate halt of operations of GVL.
Furthermore, Minister Sirleaf who has with him Edward Mulbah, Executive Director of the Liberia Peacebuilding Office at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Assistant Minister for Culture and Customs Joseph Jangar along with Liberia Land Authority experts, will also visit Rivercess and Grand Bassa Counties where conflict associated with alleged cultural and traditional violations are taking place.
By mandate, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is required to maintain internal peace, reconciliation, promote socio-cultural interactions for enhanced social cohesion and inclusive governance. The Local Government Act if 2018 mandates the MIA to coordinate and lead collective efforts towards achieving national reconciliation.