Liberian Returnees Decry ‘Government’s Abandonment’, Say Living Condition is Deplorable
BONG COUNTY- The Liberian Returnees residing in Lutheran Global Village, Zota, Bong County say they have been abandoned by the National government despite many calls for support for their livelihoods.
The returnees, speaking to K-News said the government has done nothing about their welfare since they repatriated from Guinea about ten years ago.
According to the administrator of the Town, Morris Sulun-ker-menie, they have always engaged the Liberia Refugee Repatriation & Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) about the challenges they are faced with, but the LRRRC has done nothing for them.
Mr. Sulun-ker-menie said houses in the town were constructed through the support of Asia Focus Australia, an organization within the Lutheran Church in Australia, and not the government as it is being speculated.
“We have been here for ten years now but we have not received anything from the government. We have been calling on them to help us through the LRRRC, but sometimes they will only say that they got the message but they can’t come to help us,” he said.
Lutheran Global Village is a camp that holds over 250 Liberian Returnees who fled the country to neighboring Guinea to seek refuge during the fourteen-year brutal war that wiped away the lives and properties of thousands of Liberians.
Since the repatriation exercise, Morris said they are yet to receive support from the national government, dating back to the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; adding that all efforts by executives of the village to make the country’s leadership come to their aid have been fruitless.
According to him, even acquiring farmland from the traditional owners of the area is impossible, a situation he said has resulted in abject poverty where many of the occupants go to bed with hunger.
He wants the Liberian government, individual politicians, and humanitarian groups to quickly intervene to alleviate the hardship they are experiencing.
He said lives for former refugees in the area are becoming unbearable as the only junior high school they constructed is currently in a very deplorable condition.
Krubo Kennedy, one of the women Leaders of the town, told journalists that life continues to become unbearable for inhabitants of the community as a result of the government’s abandonment.
She said their town is also left out during the distribution of materials, referencing the Covid-19 stimulus package as an example.
“They can always come and jump over this town, we have been crying on them to help us but no way. Recently when people were taking names for the Covid-19 rice, they left us out. So why are they treating us like this? What wrong did we do to come to our own country?’
Our Reporter who visited the town over the weekend said many of the returnees escaped to Guinea in search of refuge during the devastating civil war that led to the death of about 250,000 from 1989 to 2003.
When the conflict ended, some of them voluntarily returned to Liberia and had no alternative but to begin a new life in Global Village, Zota District.
Officials of the LRRRC did not respond to K-News inquiry about the residents’ allegation as all efforts to contact them have proven fruitless.
The LRRRC is mandated by an act to coordinate, monitor and supervise all humanitarian activities pertaining to refugees in Liberia. The commission is the government’s lead agency for repatriation, resettlement, and reintegration. It is also responsible for the general coordination of activities including inter-agency coordination, and organization of sectoral meetings, as well as community mobilization which is a key activity of the commission.
The mobilization of relief assistance to persons of concern and vulnerable, and refugee protection and protection monitoring, are important activities of the commission.
By: Albert Fianeh- Bong County Correspondent