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YENGA DISPUTE: MRU engages local chiefs, stakeholders on speedy resolution

HomeNewsYENGA DISPUTE: MRU engages local chiefs, stakeholders on speedy resolution

YENGA DISPUTE: MRU engages local chiefs, stakeholders on speedy resolution

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The Mano River Union (MRU) has informed that its Secretariat has begun talks with community leaders, tribal heads and all stakeholders over the uncertainty surrounding Yenga.

MRU Secretary General, Ambassador Maria G. Harrison said the Secretariat is set to settle the territorial dispute between Sierra Leone and Guinea, thereby engaging the stakeholders on how stability can be restored between both countries.

The dispute is over Yenga, a small community located in the area of Sierra Leone that geographically protrudes into both Guinea and Liberia which is known as the ‘horn’ of Sierra Leone or the ‘parrots’ beak’ area.

The entire area is inhabited by the Kissi ethnic group which lives in communities which are spread across the three countries.

MRU made this move following the latest advance of Guinean Military in Yenga which is located in the said environs bordering the two West African nations.

Reports say Guineans have erected a pillar at Yenga which has raised serious concerns among some Sierra Leoneans who believe it is a direct infringement of the Guinean authorities on the territorial integrity of Sierra Leone.

It was further disclosed by the MRU that the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has approved and provided granting aid of $25 million to build a 276 meters bridge over the disputed Makona (Moa) River.

MRU also informs that FIFA has also expressed interest to build a Sports Complex in that Parrot Beak ‘horn’ of Sierra Leone that will include a recreational center and a Sports Academy with modern stadiums for both indoor and outdoor games. The complex aims to serve the three countries.

The MRU Secretariat says all of such beautiful developments can only happen if there is Peace within the environs.

With the MRU engagement, many individuals especially those within the Sierra Leonean side are hopeful that, the issue will be amicably sorted out to avoid any problems between the two countries either now or the future.

According to several ancient and contemporary maps, Yenga is originally part of Sierra Leone. Guineans came to occupy the territory during the civil war in Sierra Leone. It follows after Guinean troops were sent into the village to help Sierra Leone army suppress the RUF rebels.

But the Guineans remained in the community after the war ended, eventually claiming ownership of the territory. Since then, there has been dispute between residents of both countries over who own Yenga.

In 2005, the neighboring countries signed an agreement that Yenga belonged to Sierra Leone. Later in 2012, they declared that the village be demilitarized.

But the dispute over ownership of the area remains unresolved despite the many bilateral agreements signed.

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