Senator Marshall A. Dennis has confirmed that over nine thousand (9,000) Burkinabés are illegally occupying a portion of land belonging to citizens of Grand Gedeh County. Senator Dennis told a media conference at his Capitol Building office yesterday that the Burkinabés are presently doing farming and growing crops such as cocoa on the lands they are occupying.
Under Liberian law, foreigners do not own land but lease or rent from the citizens who are the chief custodians of the land in the country.
The Senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, has described the action of the Burkinabés as "Economic sabotage and poses a security threat which, we say, is of international dimension; because these people are foreigners in such a large number, and are even getting more than the inhabitants themselves, which is worrisome. They have even begun hoisting their country's flag."
The infiltration of the foreigners has already been placed on the floor of the Senate, and hearing was expected by plenary on August 26, but the issue was deferred to the next sitting of the Senate, as members of national security apparatus invited were caught in the anti-rape campaign traffic.
Senator Dennis recalled that in 2015 a communication was done and presented to Senate plenary on the same issue, "and a delegation headed by then-Defense Minister Brownie J Samukai left and went to that forest area, and they confirmed the presence of these illegal migrants. They made a report, but perhaps that has not done too much good for us, because the number of those illegal immigrants continues to go up."
He asserted that the distance from the nearest town to where illegal migrants are occupying is approximately nine hours of walk. "It's possible that, besides the farming, they are even carrying on alluvial mining, because there is a huge mineral deposit in that area and, with no one policing them, they can go ahead with no benefit to the community and the government of Liberia."
Senator Dennis, however, clarified that an exhaustive investigation will show that some of those illegal occupants were brought in to the county through the Ivory Coast by some citizens of Grand Gedeh to help them with farming, with the promise that they would be given land for their own farming purposes. "All of these things just require exhaustive investigation to find out, otherwise we are going to lose that portion of Liberia to a foreign land."
J. Burgess Carter