Businesspeople, as well as ordinary travelers plying the road through the Ganta Border to neighboring Guinea have complained of uneasy movement at the border due to alleged harassment they suffer at the hands of a group of men known as “baggage boys.”
The “baggage boys” are a group of men commercializing an opportunity to help carry the loads or bags of travelers crossing the border.
Some of the businesspeople told the Daily Observer that these boys operate within the security corridor at the border and, upon the arrival of any traveler, the baggage boys pretend to help carry travelers’ luggage and, in the process, would steal from travelers or harass them for money. Some baggage boys reportedly go to the extent of demanding one’s traveling documents.
Sources say sometimes they try to evade customs officers by shielding businesspeople from going through customs and or immigration formalities.
“They sometimes rob you in the presence of the security, especially when you are going through immigration formalities. In their alleged acts, no drastic action is taken by the security against the so called ‘baggage boys,’” Chris Leweh, a regular traveler from Grand Gedeh recalled.
“Despite going through the numerous offices at this border, you will face another challenge at the hands of the baggage boys,” said a man only identified as Alious.
Few years ago, one of the “baggage boys” was reportedly brutalized by a Guinea military officer for allegedly escorting an Italian woman to Guinea from Liberia without the woman having proper traveling documents.
However, the spokesperson of the Immigration, who chairs the joint security at the border, Captain Samuel Bonmem, denied the existence of any group called “baggage boys” at the border, adding: “No report of harassment at the hands of“baggage boys” had ever reached the border authorities.”