ZWEDRU – The Regional Director of the Liberia Refugee, Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) in southeastern Liberia, Robert S. Tamba, has confirmed that over 139 Ivorian refugees have crossed into Liberia in recent days.
Tamba in an exclusive interview with the Liberia News Agency (LINA) on Monday said that the refugees entered the country through some illegal ground crossing points and settled in towns and villages on the Liberian side near the border with Ivory Coast.
According to Tamba, LRRRC Field monitor in Jarzon, Cavalla District identified as Anthony Doeloe reported that there are strange people crossing from Ivory Coast through New Pohan, Bewedi and Now Towns all in the Cavalla District.
Based on the information a joint team of monitors comprising LRRRC and UNHCR went to the concerned towns, had meetings with chiefs, elders and refugee leaders, according to Tamba.
The outcome of the meeting revealed that about 135 persons crossed into Liberia. Four refugees were discovered in Zwedru making the total of 139 refugees.
The information was later communicated to LRRRC central office in Monrovia, and the local county authorities accordingly for their attention and actions, Tamba explained.
He also mentioned receiving unconfirmed information from the Toe Town axis that about 60 refugees entered Liberia; though the information remains unconfirmed pending a verification visit to the area by the joint team of the LRRRC, UNHCR and Liberia Immigration Services.
With the unfolding of issues relative to refugees illegally crossing into Liberia from the Ivory Coast, the administration of LRRRC headed by Executive Director Rev. Festus R. B. Logan has tentatively arranged to place the refugees into the second largest refugee camp in Duogee Town, several kilometers from Zwedru, according to Regional Supervisor Tamba.
He revealed that an assessment has been concluded and details forwarded to Monrovia for appropriate actions.
“According to universal conventions on refugees, when taking refugees from the border, they should be moved about 50km into the country, owing to several reasons, including security and medical conditions,” Tamba said.
He elaborated that some of the refugees have already entered the P.T.P Refugees Camp, and called on all partners to ensure that proper tracking exercise be conducted to gather a precise data about them and have them moved to the new camp in Duogee Town.
It can be recalled that Ivorian refugees came to Liberia and have been here since 2011. Most of them settled at the PTP Refugee Camp in Grand Gedeh County.
Some for various reasons have been repatriated to their country, while over 200 others have opted to locally integrate into the county.
According to Tamba, the local integration process has begun, and some bridges on the roads to the Camp have been constructed.
A modern Town Hall is currently under construction in Toefouh Town, the headquarters of Tchien District in Kanneh Clan where the PTP Refugee Camp is located.
“We as a government will ensure that we live up to the terms of agreement as catalogued in the Memorandum of Understanding between LRRRC and the Kanneh Clan,” Tamba stated.
He further disclosed that the Government of Liberia has secured a piece of land where refugees are benefitting from livelihood projects. Some received grants and are presently involved in various businesses for self-sustainability.
“I want to assure you that there will be no diversions of plans, despite the present influx, to support those who have already opted to locally integrate in Liberia,” Tamba added.