— Weah seeks chief, elders intervention; as 3-County conflict Deepen,
President George M. Weah has announced the setting-up of special a committee compromising elders, chiefs and members of the legislative caucuses of Maryland, River Gee and Grand Kru counties to settle the issue of continued border disputes, which has resulted in a number of deaths.
President Weah said it was unfortunate for citizens of the three counties to engage in conflict that subsequently led to the deaths of “Good citizens” and displacement of others in their own country.
He cautioned the chiefs, elders and caucuses of the three counties to ensure that the peace of Liberia is maintained, stating that, “Without peace, we will not have development in our various counties.”
“The chiefs, elders and officials need to intervene now into the land and boundary disputes. United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) left us and it is important for all of us to maintain the peace because, without peace, we will not develop our communities and the country at large,” President Weah appealed.
In the south-east, there have been land conflicts between River Gee and Maryland, Maryland and Grand Kru, and Grand Kru and Sinoe, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs last year intervened, but the situation is yet to be resolved.
“Mr. President, we have several problems ranging from land border disputes and tribal conflict. The conflict is from one community to another. We have been protecting our county amid River Gee’s and Grand Kru’s constant attacks,” Maryland County Superintendent George A. Prowd said.
According to the Superintendent, despite these provocations, citizens of Maryland County continue to exercise restraint with us on promoting the peace for the good of Liberia.
“I am pleased to report to you, Mr. President, that as part of these provocations, Grand Kru County, particularly the people of Behwen, on December 16, 2020, forcefully drove out 38 of our citizens, which led them to leaving back their belongings including farms,” Mr. Prowd told President Weah during a town hall meeting.
Superintendent Prowd said citizens of Maryland County have been keeping the peace over 40 years despite the forceful removal of their citizens who have lived in Behwen for years and intermarried.
“We thought that the intermarriages and co-existence over the years would end this long conflict, but not at all. Though our citizens are at home, they are displaced and have no access to their farms,” Superintendent Prowd added.
According to the Supreintendent, the citizens of River Gee County have become equally hustile and provocative because of the discovery of gold in Matee Town, Behma Town and other areas which lie around the boundary with Grand Kru County.
“We are still kind because of the motherly love we have for these people. We parented all of these people, both Grand Kru and River Gee counties. One would wonder why such ungratefulness,” Superintendent Prowd lamented.
He lauded Minister Sirleaf for his continuous intervention over time which has accordingly led to maintaining the peace, but expressed the need for serious intervention from the government of Liberia.
It can be called that Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf during the heat of the conflict in December 2020 intervened, but it appears that serious attention is needed by stakeholders to address the situation.
President Weah, committing to support efforts in addressing the disputes, called on the people of the three counties to unite, work together as a team and with Minister Sirleaf and local leaders to resolve the issues.
Land dispute became a point of attention after the Liberian civil war. For what the Liberian government foresaw to be a breeding ground for conflict, it enacted a new land law and established the Liberia Land Authority to intervene and settle all land matters.