Liberian refugees in Ghana woke up today to gun shots and ransacking of the Buduburam Refugee Camp where they have lived and know as home since they sort refuge in that West African nation some 22 years ago when war broke out in the their country in 1989. Five Liberian refugees are reportedly dead after being shot by the Ghanaian police with many injured and several arrested, most of the refugees arrested are men.
An eyewitness account from the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana told The New Dispensation this evening that the Ghanaian police stormed the refugee camp this morning shooting at randomly in the air in a bid to prevent the installation of a new Refugee Welfare Council, the body which coördinates the affairs of the refugees and serves as a buffer between the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and the Liberian refugees.
The account of our eyewitness said about some time ago, the Liberian refuges protested unseated the previous Welfare Council on grounds they did not care and sort the welfare of the refugees whom they claim to represent and wellbeing they suppose to seek . The refugees and went ahead to elect a new Welfare Council whom they believe will seek their wellbeing and proceeded to install them into office today but were told by the Ghanaian authority not to induct any new team of officers of the Welfare Council and should a bot any scheduled installation until the Ghanaian authority can come to investigate what transpired between the refuges and the former Welfare Council. The y refugees refused to abide by Ghanaian the government plead, it was on that basis to adhere to the government plead that the police were dispatched to prevent the installation. In a conversion with the our reporter, our eyewitness said the police stormed the refugee camp shooting at randomly in the air, rounding up many people, it was at that point the situation spilled out of control, the mothers and women of the refugees decided to protest the arrest and random shooting, a situation which aggravated the police and became more brutal. The refugees responded by throwing stones , exhibiting the situation. Our source says he personal saw the gunning down of a Liberian refugee girl by a Ghanaian police.
Many Liberian refugees are injured from this fracas while several were arrested and are presently in the custody of the Ghanaian authority. The refugee camp is presently on a lock down, our eyewitness said with the entire camp turning into a ghost down as every one is in doors because the police are surrounding the camp. “Many are still in the bush, several of our brothers and sisters fled into the bushes when the police started shooting and rounding refuges up at random and could be afraid to return to the camp since the police are still here”, the eyewitness told “The New Dispensation”.
The Liberian refugees, according to our eyewitness account refused to adhere to the Ghanaian government demands on grounds that they have waited long enough since the former leadership was unseated and the Ghanaian authority kept on promising to come and investigate the matter and help facilitate a new leadership but renegade on their promises. “It was at this junction, frustrated with the Ghanaian government lackadaisical attitude and concerned for their own wellbeing and the refugee community, the refugees decided to evolve a new leadership through election to fill in the vacuum in place by the unseating of the former Welfare Council”, our eyewitness said.
Liberian refugees have from time to time since taking refuge in Ghana, have decried the Ghana immigration policy which preclude Liberian refugees from getting involve running their own refugee affairs but must rather be led and run by Ghanaians. Liberians have long cried, it is impossible;e for an ordinary Ghanaian to run the affairs of Liberian refugees and seek their welfare when they are not refugees and don’t know what it means to be a refugees, the reason why Ghanaians who have run the Liberian refugees program have abused, exploit, robbed Liberians refugees and denied them of the many opportunities provided to the refugees but convert those opportunities to Ghanaians depriving the refugees who are in dying need
This latest incident, is yet another of the several tension and uneasiness between Liberian refugees and Ghanaian authorities. In 2009, similar incidents took place between Ghanaian authorities and several Liberian refugees many of whom were woman were ill-treated for voicing out their grievances, against the UNHCR.
It is about time the United Nations High commission for Refugees, the Ghanaian government and the government of Liberia, consider the constant and ruthless treatment by the Ghanaian government and people very seriously and not handle this present situation the lukewarm attention accorded previous incidents. This time, the killing of refugees by Ghanaian security apparatus mus be treated with urgency and the culprits involved in their deaths must account for their actions. The world must condemn the barbaric act and killings of refugees in foreign country by a foreign government security apparatus which suppose to protect them under international refugee laws and conventions. There is no excuse this time around, Liberians will demand justice.
Liberians are fed up with the constant ruthless behavior of Ghana towards Liberia, this latest situation of the killing of Liberian refugees must be the last time Ghana unleash cruelty against Liberians. From time to time, Liberians and Liberia have opened their arms to Ghana, many Ghanaians consider Liberia, their home but despite the warmth and the opportunities Ghana and Ghanaians have accrued from Liberia, Ghana and Ghanaians will always unleash cruelty against Liberia and Liberians.
The UNHCR must either immediately repatriate Liberian refugees back home to their country or resettle them to another country because their lives and safety are threatened the government of Ghana that suppose to protect them.
The Ghanaian President, John Mills and his security must account for the death of Liberian refugees in Ghana and undermining international migration laws and refugee conventions.