The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: 'Attack On Liberia's Economy'

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says the recent attack on facilities of ArcelorMittal in Nimba County was an attack on Liberia's economy and its future. President Sirleaf said while the government awaits the outcome of preliminary assessment of the full extent of damage caused by the riot, the response of the government will be decisive, immediate and forceful.

A nationwide address jointly attended by House Speaker Alex Tyler and Senate Pro-temp Gbehzohngar Findley Thursday said the government regrets the situation and assured that all those linked to the crime will bear the full weight of the law.

"All those found to be guilty will pay the fullest penalties imposed by the law... That process in underway and advancing... " Pres. Sirleaf assured.

The Liberian leader promised to appoint a prominent person to chair a board of inquiry along with other eminent lawyers and citizens that will comprehensively undertake a detailed investigation into the root and other causes associated with the incident.

She said the government will also undertake the cost for the repairs of the damaged roads and bridges with the cost sourced directly from funds allotted in the national budget for the development of the county.

"The cost to repair the damaged and replace the properties destroyed, when determined, will be a subject of discussion between the government and ArcelorMittal... " Pres. Sirleaf stated.

The Liberian leader also, with immediate effect, placed a moratorium of the issuance and use of alluvial mining licenses and permits in Nimba County until the full effects and associated costs on the company's operations are determined.

She said the attacks on the company are also hash reminders of the consequences of the abuse of freedoms.

The President further alleged that some unnamed individuals have over the time been engaged in the unlawful incitement of others to such violent activities through the misuse of the media.

She said the exercise of freedom without the associated responsibility leads to anarchy and the government is therefore resolved to dutifully punish any individual found in such act, no matter their status.

The Liberian leader praised the company for resuming operations after the unfortunate incident which led to the looting of some of its properties.

Rioting in the mining town of Yekepa resulted to the destruction of properties belonging to ArcelorMittal and the alleged exchange of gun fire between police and protesters. The protesters were reported to have used single barrier guns to fire at police officers during which about four sustained injuries.

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