10 September 2012

Liberia: Six Arrested After Gold-Mine Shootout in Grand Kru

Liberia National Police in Grand Kru County have arrested six men in connection with a recent armed assault on a gold mine in the area. Members of Liberia's armed police unit are interrogating the suspects in Greenville, Sinoe County, police spokesman Mr. George Bardue told The Heritage on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.

He indicated that several others suspected of collaborating with the arrested persons fled to the bushes. Police recovered several items that were stolen during the raid on the gold mine on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, Mr. Bardue said. Those items included ammunition, several shovels and a water pump.

Recently, this paper reported that unidentified gunmen had opened fire over a gold mine dispute in Grand Kru. Grand Kru County is located several hundred kilometers east of the capital city Monrovia. Approximately 20 heavily armed men reportedly stormed a mining area in Duboah Statutory District, Wiyuan Village, Grand Kru County, shooting at random.

The incident was allegedly triggered by claims that the unidentified leader of the armed gang owns the gold mine that was being mined under the orders of another unidentified man, who is also claiming ownership of the site. The reports added that the gunmen launched their attack from neighbouring Sinoe County. The reports did not specify whether they were casualties. They did say the gunmen terrorized locals and miners in Wiyuan and surrounding villages, looting homes and the mining site.

Women and children were seen fleeing the troubled mining area and its environs as the shooting intensified. Due to its remoteness, the reports noted, there was no presence of state security personnel in the area prior to the shooting. Officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) have since been dispatched and calm is now returning to the area.

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