Thousands of Liberians still residing at the erstwhile refugee camp, Buduburam, in Ghana’s eastern region, risk being homeless, amid an eviction order issued last week, Women Voices newspaper has learned.
On Tuesday, 3 August, the GOMOA East District Security Council (DISEC) in Ghana issued an eviction order for residents of the erstwhile Liberian Refugee Camp to vacate the area without delay.
Buduburam formerly served as a refugee camp in the Goamoa East district located along the Accra-Cape Coast Highway. It was established in 1990 to accommodate the influx of Liberian refugees who fled the country’s internecine war in the 90s.
Women Voices newspaper recently reported that the Buduburam Camp in the Awutu Senya constituency in the Central Region of Ghana, which has for over 20 years been a place of abode for refugees, mostly Liberians would soon be demolished.
The paper reported that the area which has over two decades served as a home for refugees will be razed down for the area to be redeveloped.
Howbeit, the GOMOA East District Security Council, in its last Tuesday’s order, indicated that the planned eviction is intended to make way for a demolition exercise at the area aimed at addressing the rising security challenges emanating from the area.
Over the past few months, there have been countless reports of crimes and other social vices being traced to the Camp, Women Voices newspaper has learned.
Various pockets of crime including robbery attacks, assassination, and other socially unacceptable deviant behavior have been traced to people who have used their abodes as a hideout and safe haven from security personnel, District Chief Executive, for Gomoa East, Solomon Darko-Quarm, said recently, adding that the planned demolition of the Camp was in response to a request by chiefs of the area, over the increasing criminal acts there.
He said the demolition would also pave way for redevelopment of the area to befit the district’s status as the gateway to the Central Region.
A statement from the GOMOA Security Council to residents of Buduburam Camp noted that the decision for the eviction and subsequent demolition of the Camp was made at its second meeting on Tuesday, 3August 2021 at GOMOA POTSIN.
The communication, which was signed by the District Chief Executive, stated that the GOMOA District Council has resolved and further directed that all individuals and groups residing within the former Liberian Refugee Camp should vacate the area by Thursday, 30September 2021, to make way for the demolition of the area.
“By this communiqué, all persons living within the affected area should leave and evacuate whatever belongings they may have in the area, before 30th September, 2021,” the eviction notice noted, while emphasizing that said date would not be extended.
Therefore, the District Government has informed residents of the Camp that beginning 4August 2021, officers of the Assembly and security personnel would be deployed to clearly mark the boundaries of the 141 acre land, including zone 12.
“All are entreated to treat this notice with all seriousness, to avoid all complications. DISEC GOMOA East apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause to the affected persons,” DISEC GOMOA stressed in the notice.
Meanwhile, the head of Liberia’s agency responsible for refugees and repatriation, Rev. Fetus Logan, told State-radio last Thursday that his entity along with is working with international partners, are working out modalities for the repatriation of Liberians still residing at the Buduburam Camp
The Executive Director of the Liberia Refugee Repatriation Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), Rev. Logan, however, disclosed that his office is yet to officially receive any alert from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding such eviction notice by Ghanaian authorizes, stressing that obviously, as much as it is a refugee situation, the LRRRP should be informed.
According to him, amid reports that the Buduburam Camp, which has for over 20 years been a place of abode for refugees, mostly Liberians will soon be demolished, the LRRRC has communicated with the Ghanaian Refugee Board and their counterparts in Ghana for update as to what is actually obtaining in Ghana with Liberians, who are former refugees still residing in the Buduburam Camp, stating that Ghanaian authorities have assured to give update as to what is actually unfolding.
“We don’t want to hear one soon morning that our citizens are on the streets of Ghana or some of them are walking to come to Liberia, because they have been evicted from wherever they find themselves,” Rev. Logan said.
Rev. Logan emphasized that that issues regarding the planned eviction of Liberians from the Buduburam Camp is very serious, stating that this was why his Commission was still engaging the Ghana Refugee Board for update on the matter.
He noted that the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) Liberia is also involved and is working closely with their counterparts in Ghana to know as to what is actually unfolding, stating that very soon the full story would be known.
“Our first plan is to dispatch protection team to be on ground, meet with the Liberian Embassy in Ghana to protect those persons of concern, meet with the Ghana Refugee Board and have some discussions with them and then meet with the affected people and tell them that they need to come back home,” he said.
The LRRRC boss made it clear that there will be no resettlement package for the affected Liberians, stating that government does not have that kind of money.
He said the process of resettlement of Liberian refugees in Ghana, took place in 2012, adding that therefore, Liberians still in Ghana should have taken advantage of that process.
He revealed that Liberians still residing in the Camp are no longer refugees, because according to him, the Camp was decommissioned in 2010 by the UNHCR.
The Buduburam Camp was opened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1990 as a home to more than 12,000 refugees from Liberia who fled their country during the first and second Liberian civil wars
The UNHCR began pulling out of the camp in April 2007, slowly withdrawing all UNHCR-administered services.
In February 2011, Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Information indicated that Buduburam is no longer needed and that the inhabitants should consider returning to Liberia or settling elsewhere in Ghana.