(Nimba ) A high power Liberian government delegation headed by Liberia’s Information Minister Lewis Brown, is in Yekepa, Nimba County to express regrets to management of ArcelorMittal over last Thursday’s violent incident that lead to the destruction of several of their company’s properties.
Minister Brown who met with the management and employees of the company unbehalf of the Liberian leader said, Government was sadden over the violent incident.
“ The President of this country wants to let you know that Government will not compromised what happen to your staff and facilities , anyone who’s responsible for this level of damage on your facilities and are caught will be prosecuted in accordance with the laws of Liberia” asserted Minister Brown .
He said as a sign of assurance, government has beef up the presence of securities apparatus in the company concession areas and with the help of the Police, several of the company’s properties were retrieved and employees that were held in hostage by the protesting Liberians residing in Nimba County were free.
The Liberian Information Minister told the management of ArcelorMittal that government will do everything possible to ensure peace and stability at their concession areas and that they should continue their mining operations.
According to Minister Brown, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has convene a major security meeting last week Saturday in Monrovia to critically deal with the issues that happen at the company facilities and assured them of improved security at the company.
“The action by these Liberians can scare any investor from coming to Liberia , no body must consider them as Nimbains, this is not a tribal thing , people who carry out the destruction are Liberians and as such we will treat those responsible for such violent act as Liberians and not as Nimbians, so no one must see this as a tribal issues, we I committed on this issue as evidence by the presence of members of the county’s legislative caucus” Minister Brown noted .
He said already the police is searching the villages, forests for items looted from the company facilities and have already retrieved some of the items.
Brown said, ArcelorMittal is a major partner to government , and the company is helping to improve the lives of of Liberians mainly people in rural areas and as such the act was scaring and has a negative image on the country .
The company facilities were vandalized and the protesters took away materials include , mining equipment, computers, freezers, air-condition, cement, shovels, vehicle tires, vehicles batteries, amongst others .
The protestor also damaged over ten vehicles belonging to the company earth moving equipment and also burned a truck and burst open a truck conveying several begs of cement at the company’s operations area in Yekepa, Nimba County.
At a meeting with employees of the company most of whom are foreign national, the Liberian Information Minister also expressed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s deepest regrets over the incident because most of them were held hostage for several days and hours.
“ The President of Liberia say sorry for the situation, please continue your work” Brown said in the government pardon messages to the management and staff of ArcelorMittal.
ArcelorMittal management lauded the government for their efforts taken so far to recapture their concession areas and employees who were held hostage by the protestors.
The management team assured that the company despite the damage has concluded assessment on their facilities and will resume operations.
With assurance from the government team headed by Information Minister the company resume the full operation of work at 6pm Saturday and took the Liberian government delegation on a sight seeing tour to their operation areas including the iron ore mine.
ArcelorMittal management also disclosed that already they have begun repairing their damage facilities to begin operations at other department greatly damaged.
Making remarks at the meeting with the management and employees of ArcelorMittal, Nimba County District 9 lawmaker, Matonakay Tingbean, condemn the violent action carryout by the citizens and described the action of his kinsmen as a total disrespect to the county’s leadership.
He said the Nimba Legislative caucus is talking the issue seriously and will not compromise the issue based on tribal line because it is a national concern which affected the company, county and its people.
“We have been negotiating with our people and told them that we were making efforts to settle their concerns” Tingbean said .
He said it was shocking that his kinsmen overlooked the leadership of the caucus who is negotiating and carryout massive destruction on the company’s facilities something he described as a disrespect for elected officials of our county.
The Liberian National Police has restored calm to the area and have begun retrieving several stolen items which are currently being stored at a local deport in the Nimba County and will soon be turned over to the court.
The also inform the Liberian delegation that they have beef up their patrols in the area and are patrolling in the bushes to retrieve the company’s properties looted.
Officers of the Police also said the protestors fire at them, destroyed bridges and burned the company facilities but with their skills and professional expertise they were able to put the situation under control and several of the protesters, looters, have been arrested.
Details are emerging from Yekepa, Nimba county.