An authority on Guinean side of the Ganta border has surprisingly closed their border as of this morning, reportedly due to the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus.
Merchants trapped on the Guinean side of the border after the closure quoted the Guinean security personnl as saying that, Liberia was "full of Ebola", so they were closing the border to prevent Guineans from contacting the virus.
“We had been trapped on the Guinea side since this afternoon when the border was closed, but we begged them to allow us to cross back to Liberia,” said Patricia, a petty trader.
“They told us that we the Liberians are full of Ebola,” another woman chanted.
Whether the closure of the border was done officially is yet to be established; but Liberia security sources told this paper that the Chief of Staff of Guinean Army (who was not named) ordered the closure.
The Joint Security Chair BIN Betty Benson said they had not been officially informed about the closure, so they were still observing the closure until Thursday Morning before issuing an official response.
“Whether it is officially closed or partially closed, we don’t know yet, because we are still seeing people crossing,” she said.
When the Observer visited the border, several vehicles as well as pedestrians were seen stranded on both sides of the border with a chain and lock barring entry into Guinean.
People on the Liberian side of the border seemed very sad, with all the officers, including custom workers as well as other workers, sitting supinely doing nothing.
Since the intensification of the Ebola crisis, especially upon the closure of some border posts by President Sirleaf, movement along the border had been very slow.
Ganta lies at the edge of the St John River, which forms a boundary between the two countries. Most Guineans residing in the nearby cities, towns and villages do most of their transactions in Ganta, while Liberians cross the border every morning to sell in Guinea and return in the evening.
“We don’t blame Guinea. It is our government we should blame, because when this Ebola outbreak started in Guinea in March, the Government of Liberia left her border open for humanity’s sake. But now the Ebola Virus is raging in Liberia, so they are closing before it spreads into their country,” said one of the stranded pedestrians.
Ganta border is one of the key points of revenue collection in Liberia, and the closure may have a serious impact on the Liberian economy.