A group of Liberians, including 35 women, five children and 17 men have been stranded at the Cantonments Police Station in Accra, Ghana, the country’s Daily Graphic newspaper has reported.
According to the paper the 57 Liberians, who are from the closed Buduburam Refugee camp near Kasoa, have been left to sleep outside of the walls of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for days now after they besieged the organization’s office demanding to be resettled in Europe, instead of Ghana or their home country, Liberia.
The online new website said after efforts to get the Liberians to return to their base failed, the UNHCR called the police and they were sent to the Cantonments Police Station last Thursday.
However, a source from Liberia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs who asked not to be named told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that the ministry is unaware of Liberians in Ghana encountering such difficulties.
“I cannot confirm nor deny this information. But we will do a follow-up to take the necessary action to get our compatriots home,” the source said.
No one from the Liberia Refugee Repatriation, Resettlement Commission was online to respond to a number of phone calls the Daily Observer placed to the commission up to press time last night.
The Daily Graphic online report said after they visited the station, some of the Liberians were seen sleeping on the bare floor; others were cooking behind the offices, while others were loitering at the police barracks. Some of the children were walking about half naked and barefooted.
One of the leaders of the group, Moses Anderson, in an interview, claimed that they had besieged the offices of the UNHCR because the land on which they lived at the Buduburam Camp had been taken over by the indigenous people.
“We have nowhere to go now. We have been given up to January 15, 2018 to vacate the land. We have no money and no jobs. We don’t know why the UNHCR is delaying with our resettlement,” Anderson said.
According to him, following the cessation on June 30, 2012 of the refugee status of all Liberians who fled Liberia to Ghana as a result of the civil war in that country between 1989 and 2003, they had opted to be resettled in Canada, the United Kingdom or Australia.
He said they had been given three options, comprising voluntary repatriation to Liberia, local integration in Ghana or resettlement in a third country.
“But some of us opted for resettlement in a third country, and we have been waiting for years for that to happen without success,” Anderson said.
One of the stranded persons, Madam Mabel G. D. Nyanawreh, currently in her 40s, who said she came to Ghana when she was 17, claimed that her house had been demolished by the landowners at Buduburam, and therefore, had nowhere to go to.
“I don’t want to go back to Liberia, because it is not safe for me. I want to seek asylum in Canada, the UK or Australia,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Cantonments District Police Commander, Superintendent of Police William Asante, said he was worried about the presence of the group at the station as there was no shelter for them, “neither was there a place of convenience.”