Last week, armed men carrying machetes and other deadly weapons attacked ArcelorMittal’s Tokadeh Mines in Yekepa and shot an employee.
The violent attack was masterminded by a gang of criminals said to be stationed in the town of Zolowee, which is within the confines ArcelorMittal’s operational area in Nimba County.
The criminals had earlier opened fire on police officers in the town after the officers discovered a warehouse of stolen fuel oil and yellow machines spare parts.
They also flogged the Segal private security guards on duty and damaged a vehicle before the attack on the Tokadeh Mines.
ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) confirmed that situation and it will continue to work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its emplyoees remain its top priority.
Since the violent gang’s attack, mounting fear and uncertainty have engulfed communities around ArcelorMittal’s mining site in Nimba County
People in Zolowee Town, where the gang opened gun fire on police officers and beat private security guards, are even more terrified given the shock of last week’s events.
What is more disturbing is the fact that this is not the first time that the company has come under attack by criminal gangs. The Government of Liberia (GOL) will have to step in immediately to provide security for its biggest foreign direct investment in the country to ensure the safety of the company’s employees and as well the company’s properties.
AcelorMittal for several years has been the biggest taxpayer of the government and, apart from its MDA responsibility, has demonstrated ample commitment and patriotism to the country by providing support in critical areas such as health, education, infrastructure, sports, etc.
Over the last two years, the Liberia Revenue Authority has awarded AML as the country’s biggest taxpayer and for being tax compliant.
The recent attack at the company’s mining site in Nimba is instilling fears among several employees and residents in nearby communities.
It is speculated that since the incident took place, the company employees assigned at the Tokodeh’s mining site in Nimba County have been reluctantly showing up at job due to fear that the criminals may return and harm their lives—since the security officers assigned at the mine are not sufficient to ensure their safety and security at job, especially at night hours.
To make Liberia attractive and a favorable destination for foreign direct investment, the Government of Liberia (GOL) will need to seize the responsibility of providing stationed security presence in areas where concessionaires are operating to protect their investments and the safety of employees, who are looking up to these companies to eke out a living—by putting breads on the tables of their families.
The recent US Investment Climate Report on Liberia has not been a favorable one for the country, and the recent attack on the AML is also troubling for the investment climate as it has the potential to render Liberia’s investment image beyond the recent US Investment Climate Reports on Liberia.
Therefore, the government will have to do more to guarantee investors’ investment in the country and to paint a positive investment climate for Liberia by discouraging these attacks.