Senate Requests AFL Deployment in Grand Gedeh

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Members of the joint security take oath in the Senate chamber before the hearing on the security situation in Grand Gedeh County

… to curtail growing threat of illegal migrants taking over forest lands

The outgoing Senator of Grand Gedeh County, J. Alphonso Gaye, has proffered a motion, for the Liberian Senate’s recommendation, that President George Manneh Weah to immediately mandate the joint security, led by the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), to move in Grand Gedeh County to curtail the threat of illegal migrants occupying forest lands in that region of the country.

“I move that [before] this hearing comes to a close, that this Senate produces an a memo to be presented to the President (George Weah), with specific recommendations that the joint security, headed by the AFL be instructed, mandated, supported to move in immediately so as to diminish the threat that is existing that region of Grand Gedeh County, Senator Gaye proffered in a motion that was unanimously approved.

The motion followed hours of moving hearings by members of the joint security in the Chambers of the Senate Annex yesterday, which included the Inspector General of Police, Patrick Sudue; Internal Affairs Minister Varney A Sirleaf; the National Security Advisor to the President; as well as the Commissioner General of Liberia Immigration Service, Robert W Budy; among others.

The hearing was prompted by a communication from the chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, Grand Gedeh County Senator A. Marshall Dennis, to the Senate plenary, complaining of the illegal occupation of parts of the county by migrants from Burkina Faso.

In a video power-point presentation, IG Sudue exhibited video and still footage of young individuals, believed to be Burkinabes known as Mossi, and farm huts used for housing, with hundreds of acres of burnt forest land, which they use for planting cocoa and coffee.

Inspector Sudue asserted that the Government of Liberia needs to do something now, expressing fear of a future civil war if nothing is done promptly. “This is a national security crisis and threat.”

From preliminary investigation, Colonel Sudue disclosed and corroborated Senator Marshall’s earlier claim that some of the Burkinabes were brought into the county to do farming by citizens of that county, and in return, were rewarded with acres of land.

Speaking immediately after the presentation, the author of the communication that prompted the hearing, Senator Dennis intimated that besides the invasion of the Burkinabes, there is an existence of intra-community disputes in Gbarzon Statutory District, which is the epicenter of the migrants’ occupation, regarding land ownership, which is yet to be resolved by the Forestry Development Authority.

Senator Dennis recalled that citizens of the County on many occasions arrested the Mossi farmers and brought them to the local government authorities, “but days later they are released and they are back to the forest. We are sitting on a time bomb.”

The other Grand Gedeh Senator, Alphonso Gaye, told the joint security team that “if I were President Weah today I would have fired all of you people for negligence of duty, for not being proactive, for being complacent.”

Senator Gaye was reacting to Inspector General Sudue’s lament that part of the security’s inability to rid the county of illegal migrants from the sub-region is due to the fact that some of the illegal migrants are always protected by the Krahns of the county.

“The country is under attack, because the people are not infiltrating, they have settled, taken land and we are giving all these excuses,” Senator Gaye retorted. “Maybe a new set of people [should] come in that will be more vigilant to address the problem. I am telling you, if you are myopic, one morning you will get up to the news that people in the forest have set up their government. If you are not able [to do] the job, resign.”

Meanwhile, Senator J. Gbleh-bo Brown of Maryland County has requested that the Senate mandates its leadership to invite the leadership of the House of Representatives for a leadership meeting. “The joint leadership of the national legislature can invite the national security apparatus, including the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, National Defense for an emergency meeting.”

Senator Brown then requested the joint security team to present a budgeted plan on how to bring the current crisis to a halt.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations, senators!

    However, know that in every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. As much as you have voted unanimously to send the AFL in the county, I would admonish President Weah to be skillful in dealing with this situation.

    Consider the following facts:
    Those Burkinabe were introduced in the forests of Grand Gedeh by the children of Grand Gedeh;
    Those Burkinabe are protected in those forests by the children of Grand Gedeh;
    The Burkinabe have be compensated with lands against their labor force. Cash crops have been planted on those lands by the Burkinabe;
    The Burkinabe have intermarried with the children of Liberia, and so some of them have children who are Liberians;

    Liberia has vast agriculture lands unexploited. Nearly all the present-day children of Liberia want to live in Monrovia, want to work in office even when not paid or want to do politics. People in the diaspora want to undertake in their respective counties back home through their families to no avail because our people back home have been injected with a virus in their veins called “stupidness”.

    Proposals:
    Vote legislations to protect those landowners and their offspring in years to come;
    Make those Burkinabe to sign legal documents of any collaborations in accordance with such legislations;
    Educate our people on the danger of selling lands out to foreign nationals;
    Empower our people to exploit their lands on an industrial level.

    Gebkugbeh, I hope you will hear me again!

    • Thanks for this brilliant idea, it is laziness that got those Grand Gedeans to import people onto their land to make farm, they are only interested in Politicking. Your suggestion is the proper way to proceed. Find out those who imported those foreign farmers into Liberia to make farm,
      1. Ask them what was the agreement reached with these people, if it was making farm for land, that agreement be cancelled and they be compensated with money;and made to return home.
      2. Those who intermarried and have children with our sisters, be asked whether they want to be citizen, if yes, let them meet the requirements for naturalization; those who do not, let them and their women leave immediately with their children;
      3. This aspect does not called for security, but a task force to investigate and implement;
      4. Those who brought those people to work for land be prosecuted for violating the law, as foreigners cannot own land in land; which is a grave offense;
      5.These are the same people in the Ivory Coast that almost destroyed that country, during the political era
      6. Dismiss all local officials in that district for keeping quiet.
      This is an invasion of one souvenignty!
      Thanks.

  2. The unpublished numbers of foreigners in that part of the country is put at 9,000 . It is the obligations of members of the House of Laws to pass legislation on how the situation should be dealt with. A brighter picture is to consider citizenship for the foreigners and have every land sold to the foreigners documented. And moving forward with the legislation, a five to ten years prison sentence to would be violators of the country’s law. A stationed military in that count is the best option. But not a military operation to take back the lands or to have them deported. Those without criminal records and would like to remain in that country, must be allowed to become citizens. Those who are hoping to return to their original country must be treated as refugees and handed over to the United Nations High Commission for their departure. But the lawmakers must legislate to address the present situation. Involve the United Nations agency on refugees on any military operations in that country. They are now on the Liberian soil, and they do deserved some civil protections under the law. Any plan to engage the illegal foreigners, must include the United Nations High Commissioner and local refugees Commissioners. Stop the noise of sending in the country’s security forces. This is a civilian issue with moderate military support. This is no threat to the national security of the country. This kind of problem has been around the country, especially from the southeast. So stop the noise about security threat.

  3. The scriptures say the house that is divided against itself will surely fall. So this is the case with Liberia. In the first place, why should Grand Gedeans allow the encroachments of foreigners on the Liberian soil in such massive numbers? This is a strong sign of the lack of patriotism and a proof to the diminishing feeling of the sense of nationalism among Liberians.

    One explanation says many of the Grand Gedeans are still harboring the hurt and pains from the death of their beloved son, the late Samuel Kanyon Doe. Moreover, they feel the county has been abandoned when the issues bog down to providing jobs for their citizens and making them to feel they are still a part of the body politic. Therefore this latest incident is a way of sending a signal to the GOL that a plan could be in the making for Grand Gedeh to secede from Liberia and join with the Burkinabes to form a new country.

    This is yet another warning that the agony and the emotional scars of the civil war are still with us, and that the need still exists for the government to spearhead the suggestions of the TRC to reconcile and bring to end the deep-seated hatred, which still exists among our people, as a result of this tragedy.

    The need for national unity and social cohesion cannot be overly emphasize. If government does not start acting, Liberians might wake-up one day just to find out Grand Gedeh is no longer a part of the Liberian territorial limit. A new flag will be waving in that part of the Southeast encompassing unique Krao tribal groups, who were formerly a part of Liberia joined with their Burkinabe fraternal brothers under a union sanctioned by the United Nations.

    In unity Liberia will stand, but divided it will fall as the signs are strongly indicating now.

  4. I’m excited by the insightfulness of the two senators of Grand Gedeh County (Sen. Dennis, and Gaye) bravo in advance. What is happening in the Gbarzon forest is not just the Krahn people business but rather a national issue and needs all hands on the desk.
    For too long we have sat and watched this massive encroachment on our territory and yet nothing reasonably been done to remedy the situation. From all indications, I foresee another potential conflict that would lead to the loss of lives if nothing is done in a relatively short period. The assertions made by senator Gaye are all realistic why will our security apparatus be neglecting the oath they took to protect this motherland; why are they acting on the contrary? It is a hard time that George Weah led the administration ACT NOW or forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons that would retrogress our region or country into another violence. Once again senators Dennis and Gaye, I honestly appreciate you, even though this is not the first time for this issue to have claimed the attention of national government but I strongly believed in the spirit of adequate representation of your people both of you will solicit the support of your distinguished colleagues to press on the EXECUTIVE to act and act now.

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