– As thousands of Liberians; dominant women breathe sigh of relief
Amid appeals from residents, predominately Liberians, still residing at the defunct Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana, Ghanaian authorities have announced that the 30 September planned demolition exercise of the area has been suspended, Women Voices has reliably gathered.
The Ghana Refugee Board’s Executive Secretary Tetteh Padi said Tuesday that the Ghanaian government is sensitive to the plight of the approximately 5,000 Liberian refugees still in the area, indicating that therefore, the actual demolition exercise scheduled to have taken place has been placed on hold while the residents of the Camp are given time to make alternative arrangements for shelter.
Meanwhile of the thousands of residents still in the Camp, the Ghana Refuge Board has disclosed that just 400 persons are classified as refugees, with Mr. Padi stating, “the Ghana Refugee Board has found alternative shelter for them and they will be moved away from the place.”
He added: “For the rest of the population, they still have a little bit of time to make alternative arrangements.”
Howbeit, the Chairman of the Liberian Community at the Budumburam, Denis Graham, is contending as being untrue, the figure of 400 people announced by the Ghana Refugee Board, as the only recognized refugees in the camp
Women Voices has learned that Graham had earlier said there were 11,000 Liberians in the camp in 2012, noting that of such number, 4,600 opted to be locally integrated into the Ghanaian society.
On the planned date for the now suspended demolition exercise, residents of the Camp, also known as the Liberian Camp, moved onto the streets in protest as that was the deadline given them by the Gomoa East District Security Council to move out of the place, according to GhanaWeb.
Several Liberians who spoke with GhanaWeb, expressed mixed reactions to the planned demolition exercise, with some stating that they had become fed up with the way they were being treated.
They said at the time that if only the land borders in Ghana would be open for them, they would gladly return to Liberia.
However, following the postponement of the demolition, several Liberians, predominantly women, again took to the streets, but this time in jubilation, for the extension given them to vacate the area.
Although the Buduburam Camp has become home to many foreign nationals from Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and some other Ghanaian nationals since the UNHCR opened the place for them in 1990, the chiefs and resident of Gomoa Fetteh have asked for the land that belongs to them to be returned, according to GhanaWeb.
Buduburam, formerly used as a refugee camp located 44 kilometers (27 miles) west of Accra, Ghana, was opened by the UNHCR in 1990 and was a home to more than 12,000 refugees from Liberia who fled the senseless internecine gun battles during the first Liberian Civil War that engulfed the country from 1989–1996 and the second Liberian Civil War which lasted from 1999–2003.