Vahun District in Lofa County might soon be detached from the county, even the whole of Liberia, if nothing is done to fix one major bad section of the road. That spot, which is at the base of the longest hill — Kangboi Hill — is along the highway from Yandehun to Vahun, which is located at the far end of the country.
Vahun District is so close to the border with Sierra Leone that most residents of Vahun, which has three clans, conduct a majority of their daily businesses with the Sierra Leonean border town of Kenema.
Most of the district’s inhabitants have the Sierra Leonean accent and are predominantly of the Mende-speaking tribe. The Mendes are also one of the major tribal groups in Sierra Leone.
The Sierra Leonean currency is also a legal tender in that part of the country and it is exchanged at 100 Liberian dollars to 5,000 Leones.
During most of the 15 years of civil war, the district was completely cut off from the rest of Liberia, except by bush paths.
The only link to Vahun now is through the major highway from Voinjama to Kolahun, Bolahun, Masabolahun, Popalahun, Kaitahun and Yandehun.
But this route might soon be cut owing to a very bad spot, which is found in a very deep curve at the base of Kangboi hill.
Vehicles plying that route have to slow down and drive less than 10 miles per hour just to cross that spot, which allows only a single car or a bike.
A Vahun resident told the Daily Observer that it was only during the administration of former Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods that the road was rehabilitated and that no maintenance had been done on it since he resigned from the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration few years ago.
The other link to the district is a six-hour long distance from Monrovia through Tubmanburg, Bomi County. But this route, according to resident Saah Fofee Koromah, is virtually impassable by all vehicles, including bikes. Koromah stated that the two major bridges which used to cross over two rivers in Gbarpolu County were destroyed by Sekou Demate Conneh’s LURD rebels.
“They used this road when they were transporting all their looted goods in trucks to Sierra Leone and Guinea,” he disclosed. According to him, the rebels, who were largely Guineans and Sierra Leoneans, feared that Charles Taylor’s fighters would have pursued them. “So those guys mounted mines on the bridges and blew them up.” He stated that because Kenema in Sierra Leone is an hour’s drive from Vahun, traders prefer going there to purchase their goods rather than dare come to Voinjama, which is more than four hours away and where there are many tall hills to climb.
However, in a town hall meeting with Vahun residents, Vice President Joseph Boakai, who is the only Liberian Vice President to visit the district, promised “personally to fix” that particular bad spot before an accident occurs there and someone decides to do something.
Before the VP, who passed through and saw the dangerous spot, spoke, all other speakers, including Vahun lawmaker Fofee Saah Baimba, pleaded with the government, through the VP, to fix the road. They mainly stressed the route through Bomi because of the shorter time it would take to get to Monrovia.
The VP said he would talk to his boss, President Sirleaf, upon his return to Monrovia. He, however, among other things, promised personally to fix that bad spot from Yandehun to Vahun.
Huge crowds turned out to welcome the VP and his delegation to Vahun. He and his entourage left Vahun for Foya Wednesday, May 20th. He received a rousing welcome from his Kissi kinsmen and women in Foya.