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Senate probes Nimba mining disaster

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Maryland County Senator J. Gbleh-bo Brown has written a communication requesting plenary to invite the heads of the National Disaster Management Agency, Ministry Mines and Energy and the Liberian Immigration Service to brief the Senate on the status of the recovery process of those trapped in a mudslide in Nimba.

A number of the trapped gold miners died in the mudslide, but authorities say they were making efforts to recover those who may still be alive.

The call comes days after President George Manneh Weah ordered a technical committee headed by Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf to work with the National Disaster Management Agency to move as quickly as possible to the affected area.

Sen. Browne wants the authorities to provide briefing on the current status of the recovery process, stressing that there is need that an action be taken to avoid reoccurrence.
The Maryland County lawmaker adds that prior to the incident, there have been persistent reports of illegal mining activities in many parts of Liberia.

According to him, most of those alleged illegal mining activities have been associated with foreign agents.

Further citing reports, Sen. Browne says foreign nationals are said to have brought and deployed heavy equipment in Liberia’s forests and are engaged in illegal mining activities here.

Browne says the heavy presence of foreign agents in the interior parts of Liberia where there is little or no security presence does not only undermine Liberia’s economy, but also poses serious security threat to Liberian citizens.

According to him, the tragic deaths of Liberians that were at the alleged illegal mining site should serve as a wake-up call for action.

He however requests the heads of the government agencies concerned to answer to the Senate about alleged illegal mining and those foreign agents that are involved.

It can be recalled that about 40 persons were reportedly trapped at the Gbanepea Gold Mine in Gbanepea Town, Near Tappita City in Nimba County on 9 February.

The disaster was termed as emergency, and Sen. Browne’s communication was accepted by the Senate and was sent to the appropriate committees to report in the soonest possible time.
By Ethel A. Tweh –Edited by Winston W. Parley

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