Gov’t apologizes as refugees return to camp

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A number of Liberian refugees who were removed from the refugee camp last Monday following weeks of illegal demonstrations have been returned to the camp after screening.

Liberian refugees at the Gomoa Buduburam camp just west of the Ghanaian capital, Accra, said their colleagues were brought back in two buses on Friday night.

Government sources have not said why the protestors, mainly women and children, were returned and what would happen to the rest of them being kept at a youth centre in the Eastern Region.

Some of them have apologized and said they would not continue the protest but would live in peace when they were released.

The Liberians were rounded up last Monday for failing to call off a protest the government said was illegal.

They had been demanding a reparation fee of $1,000 instead of $100 given to them by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and resettlement in the US or any Western country.

The Liberian government has apologized for the action of the refugees and would send an official delegation next Wednesday to assess the situation.

A government on Thursday said some 45 Liberian refugees who illegally found their way into the Gomoa Buduburam refugee camp would be repatriated by Friday.

The 45 are part of 659 refugees rounded up by security forces last Monday for fuelling agitations at the camp.

The Deputy Minister of Information Mr Frank Agyekum said the Liberians were being processed for immediate repatriation while the government awaited the delegation from the Liberian government for discussions on the fate of the rest.

Human rights groups have threatened to sue the Ghana government if it failed to resort to the courts in dealing their repatriation. The Coalition of Human Rights Organizations described as “over reaction” government’s handling of the protests of the refugees and said only a court of competent jurisdiction could determine whether the refugees should be repatriated.

Interior Minister Kwamena Bartels had warned that the Liberians should “not overstretch the goodwill and protection the government and people of Ghana had accorded them over the past 18 years when they fled their country during a bloody civil war”. Panapress.

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