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Friday, July 19, 2024

About 15,000 Liberians Left Hopeless in Ghana After Forced Eviction

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Sitting on a tattered mattress amongst the rubble of his former home, Wendell Elijah Mallobe is one of 15,000 Liberian refugees left destitute after authorities in Ghana demolished the camp where he has lived for more than 30 years.

“I don’t know anybody in Liberia. Nobody. They burnt the village I was living in,” said 55-year-old Mallobe, who arrived in the camp in 1990, after fleeing Liberia’s civil war. “My bed, television, clothes – everything I have worked for is gone.”

More than 200,000 people were killed and thousands more were mutilated and raped in brutal civil wars in Liberia between 1989 and 2003.

Though the U.N. ruled in 2006 that it was safe for refugees to return home, many, traumatised and without connections, remained in the so-called Liberia Camp in Buduburam, about 45 km west of Ghana’s capital, Accra.

But last week, under the orders of traditional authorities who own the land, demolition of the camp began. By Monday, a large part of the site where the once bustling Liberia Camp had stood for 34 years was reduced to concrete rubble.

Only palm trees remained standing. Residents picked through the wreckage of their destroyed, once brightly painted houses to salvage belongings as bulldozers ploughed on around them.

In the nearby Point Hope Basic School, women, children and the elderly slept on improvised beds. Patrelizas Prowd and her one-month-old niece shared a mattress with another refugee.

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