Bong County Superintendent Mrs. Lucia Herbert, has constituted a land disputes resolution committee to intervene in the growing land crisis involving the citizens of Kpatawee Clan in Suakoko District and Menquelleh Clan in Sanoyea District, following months of claims and counter-claims between the two parties over boundary demarcation.
Speaking at a news conference in Gbarnga recently, Bong County Inspector William Kollie, who is spearheading the dispute resolution committee, said its task is to ensure an amicable solution is achieved so that citizens of the two clans can co-exist peacefully once more.
Kollie said the setting up of the committee followed a conference hearing convened by the office of Superintendent Herbert involving representatives of the clans, who consented to the probe to resolve the growing disagreement.
He said a comprehensive report will be submitted to the Office of the Superintendent with accompanying recommendations based on findings that will be obtained during the investigation. He however called on the opposing parties to exercise restraint, while the committee impartially performs its task.
Inspector Kollie said members of the committee include the Administrative Assistant to Superintendent Herbert, Bong County Land Commissioner, representative from civil society organizations in Bong and the Norwegian Refugee Council that is currently involved with land conflict resolution project in the county.
In early January, a delegation from the town of Gou in Sanoyea District filed a formal complaint to Superintendent Herbert, alleging of an encroachment by citizens of Kpatawee Clan in Suakoko District on Menquelleh Clan along their common boundary.
The citizens in their complaint further claimed men armed with single barrel guns believed to be from Suakoko were deployed along the banks of the Mein River, which separates the two clans, allegedly with strict instructions from the Paramount Chief Arthur Wennah to shoot anyone attempting to remove cornerstones planted as sign of demarcation between the two regions.
Chief Wennah however denied the accusation and stressed that it was unfortunate that he was being accused of breeding the land conflict between the two clans.
Investigation conducted by our correspondent has established that the current area of conflict between the two clans is being earmarked by an international non-governmental organization for the construction of a mini hydro plant to supply electricity to some parts of Bong County so there was a scramble for ownership of the disputed parcel of land in anticipation of social service benefit to be offered by the organization undertaking the project.
Land dispute has become a common occurrence in most communities across Bong County in recent years with some resulting to bloody clashes among opposing parties.