Reacting to this in an interview, the Country Manager of SOCFIN, Gerben Haringsma said that the mediation process is not only timely, but will also help set distorted records about his company’s activities straight and that the revelation of the truth about the whole uprising in that community will be clearer understood.
“We heartily support the government in setting up the investigation to get rid of all unfounded accusations on our leased land; not being valid or legal, and the size of the land that we occupy. The investigation will also put a stop to the land grabbing accusation we have been suffering for a long time. People were made to believe by ill-motivated people that we seized lands when in fact, it was the government that leased directly from the people, while we leased from the government. It is disheartening to see civil societies innocently blaming us for land grabbing. We came here as business people and not as fighters and we can only survive when the environment is safe for investment purpose, “he said.
Mr. Harignsma added that despite the Green Belt, there are 2,500 acres of land for farming, but that has not been utilized by the people.
“We expect that once and for all, these facts will lead to the end of incitement by certain politicians and NGOs and we will live in peace with the population,” he maintained.
The Mediation Team is expected to brief the Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh about its findings at the end of the process and the Vice President will deliver the findings to President Julius Maada Bio who delegated the responsibility of restoring peace in that part of the country.