The Inquirer (Monrovia)

22 January 2013

Liberia: Several Feared Dead in Gold Rush

The gold mine rush in Rivercess County had been punctuated with misfortune as unconfirmed report said that at least 25 people died while two persons were injured when the hill on the gold mine caved on them that fateful day.

Eyewitnesses in Fen River District where the incident occurred told the INQUIRER that the hill on the gold mine collapsed last December 23, 2012 when hundreds of citizens including aliens rushed to the scene where a colossal of gold in a hill was discovered in that part of the country.

During an interview with several inhabitants in Cestos City and part of a township called "Little Liberia", which is just a stone throw from "Doemon Village" where the gold was discovered, it was disclosed that several young people were fortunate to have walked away with 100-250 grams at the time during the rush.

Little Liberia Commissioner Edward N. Wayongar could not confirm nor deny the alleged tragedy that took place but told our reporter that he heard about the incident when it was being discussed by community dwellers.

One of the survivors in the incident, student Archie Wehweh, age 19, a resident of "Little Liberia" explained to our reporter that he remembered on December 23, 2012 when he received the information that gold was discovered and he (Archie) and his father along with his brother speedily went to the spot to earn something for the Christmas which was just two days ahead.

Archie narrated that over 100 persons were on the scene at about 8:30 a.m. on that day throwing shovels at the gold mine upon their arrival and later decided to join the group. Within the next few hours Archie continued that, he noticed the hill breaking apart at the particular spot where he and hundreds of young people were.

It was at that moment Archie recalled that his right foot stuck in the mud when the hill collapsed leaving his rib bone disjointed. He said that he was rescued by his father, Mr. Washington Wehweh and his younger brother. Archie was taken to the St. Francis Hospital in Cestos to undergo treatment but was later transferred to St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Monrovia where he underwent intensive medical care including x-ray on his waist.

Another victim was Abraham Daniel also a student of Cestos High School. Abraham could not be reached because he was brought to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital for treatment too. It was reported that he broke one of his upper limbs.

The County Superintendent Wellington Gevon Smith was out of the country when the incident occurred but upon his return from the USA, Superintendent Gevon Smith could not give account of the catastrophe but assured the public that investigation is ongoing on the matter. He warned that no student or individual below 18 would be allowed to work on the gold mine. The Rivercess Superintendent has threatened to arrest individuals responsible for allowing students to go on the mine.

Madam Lucy Belleh, the supervisor of the mine who claimed to be accredited by the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy confirmed the injury of student Archie Wehweh but refuted the report that people were killed in the process.

During a visit at the spot, sources told our reporter that there were slippers, motorbikes, clothes among other things discovered without any ownership after that fateful gold-mine hill incident. It was also speculated that most of those who may have allegedly died at the gold mine did not come from Rivercess because others came along with Madam Belleh upon hearing the discovery of the gold.

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