Todee District, Rural Montserrado County – In Todee District, Rural Montserrado County, a group of irate locals under the leadership of the Traditional Bush Master, also known as Country Devil, have invaded the Chinese Urban Rural Service Mining Company’s concession area and taken valuable earthmoving machinery.
A local journalist in the area told this Media Network that a group of angry citizens ransacked the mining area on Saturday, December 9, 2023, on the grounds that the company had failed to live up to the concession agreement signed between the Government of Liberia and the Chinese Company in 2022.
Since taking over, the Chinese Company has come under sustained pressure from the project-affected communities for its alleged failure to meet up with agreements intended to benefit residents and the communities.
Recently, a Paramount Chief in Todee District called on the company to shut down operations or face radical action from the communities’ dwellers.
“This company has failed to do what was agreed upon that would have had an impact on our benefits, so we no longer want this Chinese company in our area. The company must close a leave or face serious action from the citizen.”.
The company has repeatedly told the citizens that it is working towards implementing the agreement, the Paramount Chief warned.
Following the citizens’ action over the weekend, the company reported that the equipment, including excavators, backhoe loaders, bulldozers, dump trucks, and motor graders, was among the valuable items that were taken by the angry intruders.
The citizens also attributed their radical action to the failure of the government of Liberia to intervene in their plight against the company, despite dozens of complaints and protests against the Urban Rural Service Mining Company’s gross disregard for the citizens and the 2022 mineral development agreement.
The agreement includes the rehabilitation of major roads in rural Montserrado County and the construction of ten hand pumps to provide safe drinking water for the residents.
Residents are complaining that the company has yet to fulfill its part of the agreement, a situation that has caused the residents’ living conditions to remain dire.
The lack of clean and safe drinking water and access to farm-to-market roads is one of the major challenges for the people of rural Montserrado County, where Chinese Company is operating.
People in the area still fetch drinking water from creeks, putting them at risk of waterborne diseases.
Reacting to the citizens’ action, Montserrado County Senator Saah Joseph condemned the radical action of the citizens against the company.
“We have received your complaints, and I have raised this issue at the Senate, but your action against the company is not the right thing to do,” Senator Joseph told the citizens.
He called on the citizens to ensure that the materials seized from the company are returned and promised to prevail on the company to fully adhere to the development agreement of 2022.