Home Governance Bloody Land Dispute: Citizens Clashed in River Gee… But LNP Swiftly Restores Calm

Bloody Land Dispute: Citizens Clashed in River Gee… But LNP Swiftly Restores Calm

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By: Frank P. Martin

RIVER GEE COUNTY: Reports originating from Glarro Administrative District in River Gee County indicate that a bloody clash broke-out recently between the people of Leopard Town and Freetown that are involved land dispute, leaving several persons seriously injured.

Established in 2000, River Gee County is among few rural counties in Southeastern Liberia that have faced increasing waves of land disputes.

Disenchantment has been over the Krahn-Grebo reserved, which is situated between Konobo and Glarro Statutory districts in Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties respectively.

This time around, eyewitnesses in the region, told The INDEPENDENT newspaper over the weekend, that intense combat ensured between Leopard Town and Freetown residents, all of whom are claiming ownership of the land.

Witness told the Independent that recently the Liberia Forestry Development Authority created a three kilometer buffer zone, preventing farmers from encroaching on the “Krahn-Grebo National Park.”

The people of Leopard Town, accordingly, were not in support of the FDA expansion exercise, while the idea was endorsed by the residents of Freetown, leading to increased resentment between the two towns.

There were serious casualties, as over four persons “badly” sustained injuries during the clash and were taken to the nearby health facilities for medical examination and treatment.

The Police Commander of River Gee County, Theophilus Togba, told The INDEPENDENT newspaper that calm has now been restored to the land dispute areas by the Liberia National Police.

“We have put all situations under control since we arrived here,” he said, in a phone conversation on Friday, May 31, 2024.

Prior to the bloody incident, citizens of Glarro based in Monrovia organized a Land “Dispute Resolution Mechanism Retreat” sponsored by their Lawmaker Representative Johnson S.N. Williams, to put an end to the long-standing land disputes that have engulfed the entire district.

The two-day retreat, held in Monrovia, aimed to unite, resolve, and promote inter-tribal peaceful coexistence among residents of River Gee County, according to the office of Representative Williams.

At the start of the retreat, Cllr. Kula Jackson, from the Department of Legal Affairs at the Liberia Land Authority and D. Emmanuel Wheinyue, Assistant Minister for Research & Planning of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, educated participants on the rules and regulations for resolving land issues in their respective towns and villages.
By the end of the first day, an Inter-tribal Land Disputes Resolution Committee was established, with Mr. Daniel Wilson of the Webbo Development Association appointed as chairman.

This committee was tasked with settling land issues and ensuring harmonious living among residents.
The delegates unanimously signed a resolution, agreeing that every tribe in Electoral District #3 is a member of the committee.
Participants reached several key decisions, including the review of the status of all aliens in District #3, River Gee County, and the stipulation that only natural-born Liberians are eligible to own land.

Additionally, no customary land disputes should be taken to court for any reason, the participants agreed.
On the final day of the retreat, participant Solie George, with the consent of his colleagues, led the adoption of the slogan “Touch One Touch All,” after which the resolution was signed and adopted.
Daniel H. Davison Sr., from Nyenebo Town, expressed his hope for total peace in Webbo District.

They described the resolution as a key step in solving land issues.

Darius Natt Gbaquie from the Klibo Area appreciated efforts to resolve land conflicts and emphasized the importance of peaceful coordination and education.

Martina T. Collins from Webbo highlighted the agreement among the 12 tribes to work together and stressed the need for awareness about land ownership laws.
After receiving the resolution, Representative Johnson S.N. Williams expressed his satisfaction with the progress made towards resolving the land conflicts in his district.

He acknowledged that the journey to lasting peace is challenging but emphasized the importance of the agreed-upon process.
“I believe that there is light after the thunder,” he said. “Even if I don’t resolve one conflict during my time, I am happy that we have agreed on how to proceed because the person who will come after me has somewhere to start from,” he added.
Representative Williams committed to supporting the process and announced plans to reach out to relevant institutions for further support. He also looked forward to explaining the outcomes of the retreat to his constituents during his annual visit back home.

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