Friday, April 12, 2024

Ghana: Over 15k Liberian refugees homeless after camp demolition

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

Over 15,000 Liberian refugees have been left homeless in Ghana after authorities begin the demolishing of the camp where they have lived for more than 30 years.

The refugees have been in Ghana since the Liberian refugee civil war broke out in 1989 killing more than 200,000 people with thousands more mutilated and raped.

In 2006, the U.N. ruled that it was safe for refugees to return home. But many have remained in Ghana without any networks to facilitate their return.

The demolition of the camp has begun under the orders of traditional authorities who own the land.

A large part of the 34-year old camp has since been reduced to concrete rubble.

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The affected refugees had to salvage the belongings as bulldozers ploughed on around them.

Wendell Elijah Mallobe is one of refugees counting their losses following the demolition.

“I don’t know anybody in Liberia. Nobody. They burnt the village I was living in,” said 55-year-old Mallobe, who arrived in the camp in 1990, after fleeing Liberia’s civil war. “My bed, television, clothes – everything I have worked for is gone.” He told Reuters.

Patrelizas Prowd and her one-month-old niece shared a mattress with another refugee in a nearby school.

“The cold, the mosquitoes, and the surroundings make her uncomfortable,” Prowd said of the baby. “In the afternoon, the place becomes too hot and she cries.

20-year old Prince Kamua said he had not been able to return to school since the demolition, which left him with only one book and the clothes on his back.

Tetteh Padi, executive secretary of the Ghana Refugee Board, a government body, said the board had lobbied to delay its demolition.

But a spokesman for the Gomoa Fetteh Stool who are the landowners said the operation would continue until the entire site is cleared.

Liberia Camp ceased to be classified as a refugee shelter in 2012. Since then, the landowners have made several attempts at demolition.

Only about 3,000 of the estimated 15,000 Liberians in the camp hold valid refugee status, Padi said, but efforts were underway to re-register the others for potential relocation to another camp in Ghana.

The camp’s leader, Dennis Gwion, said the displaced residents were struggling to get enough food which could endanger their lives. He said they will relocate from Ghana if there is a country that will take them.

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Source: Africafeeds.com

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