SAND BEACH, River Cess– Sand Beach, previously known as Sand Bay, is a settlement established by illicit miners and is River Cess’s largest gold mining camp with more than 5,000 residents from different parts of Liberia.
Sand Beach, also referred to as ‘City in the Forest’, is situated in the commercial city of north-western River Cess, about 40 kilometers from Yarpah Town. It has 162 housing units with more than 810 households and about seven feeder camps.
The town’s reputation as a refuge for illicit miners has ensured that Sand Beach has an image of being a place of no law and order and a breeding ground for criminals. Therefore, it is seen as a dangerous place for outsiders to visit.
However, a recent tour in the area by The Bush Chicken paints a different picture of this community. A senior elder of the area, Moses M. Maigbay, said in an interview that residents of Sand Beach are rather friendly people who have respect for the rule of law.
“We respect people, we have respect for the rule of law because we are all from different parts of this country who have come here to earn a living,” Maigbay said. “This is my 30th year here, why would I stay here this long if this place was the way people speculate?”
The elder said the misguided conclusions made it difficult for humanitarian organizations and aid workers to venture into Sand Beach to help the locals, as they feared for their safety.
“Because of the way people talk about this place, everybody is scared to come here. I was even surprised that you people came here,” Maigbay noted.
Another resident, Lewis Sekei, who runs a small store in the area, also said that she has been living in Sand Beach for five years doing business while educating her children in the nearby schools.
“Look at my shop. Since I have been here five years now, no one has knocked on my window at night, and I’m talking about armed robbers,” Sekei said. “We have shops, video clubs, entertainment centers and even motels. If this was a hostile area, why would people invest their money here?”
Featured photo by Eric Doue