Tension still exists between Mandingos and the Manos and Gios over a land situated in the commercial city of Ganta, Nimba County.
According to a man who claimed to be the owner of the land, oldman Nya Dwanyen from the Mano Tribe, his life has been under threats for years since 2003 by a man identified as Sekou Lassana, a son of Oldman Lahai Lassana, who claimed to be a legitimate owner of the land.
Mr. Dwanyen said the land in question does not belong to the Lassanas as claimed by Sekou and others in Gant. He however explained that under a lease agreement between his late father Paye Dwanyen in 1948.
Mr. Dwanyen said the 1948 agreement was not written, but based on mutual understanding characterized by marriage which landed his sister Yei in the hands of Oldman Lassana in Ja’kay, Guinea.
He further narrated that because of his sister’s marital relation; their late father told Oldman Lassana to build on the land and live there with his daughter, but that the land was never sold as Sekou and his sisters have persistently claimed.
Mr. Dwanyen also claimed that on several occasions, Oldman Lassana and his children have requested for the sale of the land but he and other relatives have rejected the request.
He said they have been seeking dialogue over the land because of their sister who married to Oldman Lassana, but that Sekou and his father have refused to do so, while other friends and relatives of Oldman Lassana have decided to follow few individuals claiming to be squatters.
Renters and friends of Mr. Dwanyen have reportedly remained recalcitrant to any offer put forward by the two parties noting “we have bought some portions of the land; therefore we are not prepared to leave this land.”
Speaking to In Profile Daily in the Guinean Town of Ja’kay during the festive seasons, Oldman Lassana, flanked by his wife Yei, claimed that the land in question belongs to him noting, “This land was sold for US$ 45 plus a sac of salt and chicken soup in 1945 by my father- in- law Nya Dwanyen.”
Mr. Lassana said since 1945 he has been living on the land with four houses, while at the same time, assisting the Dwanyen family with cash and goods and there has been no confusion between the two families before.
He claimed that it was in 1990 when the Manos were hunting the Mandingos whom they claimed were poisoning snuff and killing their people during the war.
He said his family ran away and sought refuge in Guinea and since then his properties were seized by his brother- in- law and others.
Mr. Lassana threatened that if his properties are not turned over this year, he will march to Ganta and take them by force.
At the same time, his wife yei who is reportedly in her 70s appealed to her brothers and the Government of Liberia to do everything possible to ensure that peace exists between the Manos, Gios and the Mandingos.
Her husband who is also in his 90s, appealed to the government to foster peace between the Mandingos and the Mano ethic groups noting, “They are fathers and brothers- in- law.”
Our reporter said while in Ja’kay, Oldman Lassana displaced a flying sheet with an inscription: “Take this place and live here since you have my daughter,” a document reportedly finger tipped and signed by Gompa City Mayor Willie Duo in 1945.
Old man Lassana claimed that this was a Deed Mr. Dwanyen family gave him in 1948 and it has been with him up to 1990 when he left Nimba County.