Citizens Want Border Dispute Investigated

By Edwin G. Wandah

Several citizens hailing from Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties have expressed deep regrets over the delay of the Government of Liberia to probe the long-standing land disputes between the two counties.

Some time ago, citizens of Grand Gedeh County and River Gee Counties were bitterly involved in serious border conflicts, with one party accusing the other of either violating the buffer zone restriction imposed by the Government of Liberia.

Some time ago, rumors speculated in Monrovia had it that there are growing concerns about how the land disputes at the border with the two counties have been handled, which has sparked continuous tension in the area, mainly in the Putu-Kelipo District area, thus, turning it into a serious border crisis.

Few months ago, when this paper visited Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties, the situation at the border appeared to be serious. According to Grand Gedeh County Superintendent, Peter L. Solo, the border crisis needed serious attention from the Government of Liberia.

Superintendent Peter L. Solo mentioned that although the situation was before the Grand Gedeh Legislative Caucus, but was hopeful of an urgent intervention of the Caucus and even the Government of Liberia.

He stated further that the area in question belongs to people of Grand Gedeh that covers 400 acres of land which is basically the Putu-Kelipo District dominantly which covers the Putu Mining Concession site.

But according to River Gee County Inspector, Mr. Kelvin Quenneh who was designated to speak on the land crisis alleged that Grand Gedeans have been the major instigators in fueling tension at the border area and accused Grand Gedeh County of being in serious violation of the 4km demarcation set up earlier this year by all parties to the crisis.

Kelvin said, since the disputes began in 2012, River Gee County had complied with the 4km buffer zone set up, but alleged that Grand Gedeans have violated the buffer zone deadlock and are currently residing in the area and making their farms, while according to him, his citizens are continuously victimized.

According to him, efforts made to bring independent sources including journalists and UNMIL to the site to investigate, where a 4km buffer that was put in place was violated by Grand Gedeans in the Putu-Kelipo District area has been investigated.

Meanwhile, Kelvin has said that the land in question was given to the Grand Gedeans to carry on communion farming activities by the Kelibo Women since they (the Grand Gedeans) were the sons of River Gee mothers, but decided to claim the area as theirs.

Kelvin said during the investigation, the people of Putu (basically Grand Gedeans) showed a tree as the boundary of the land, but the Kelibo people who are believed to be the owners of the land showed a creek called Jebeh, dividing the two areas, the tree and the river into a 4km buffer zone apart.