UNHCR Repatriates 600 Sierra Leonean Refugees

By: I. Solo Kelgbeh

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted May 25, 2004

As part of its effort to repatriate Sierra Leonean refugees in Liberia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees last Friday repatriated over 600 refugees.

Friday’s exercise was the highest of such on a single day since the repatriation exercise by road resumed early this year. The refugees many of whom are women and children were taken onboard a 20-truck convoy excluding trucks which carried their belongings.

The returning Sierra Leoneans said they were happy to go home to join in the reconstruction and development of the country since the war is over in their country.

It was a joyous moment as some shed tears of joy at Bo Waterside before crossing the Mano River Bridge.

Earlier at Camp David, the departing point for the refugees, UNHCR’s Country Representative Moses Okello reiterated that all Sierra Leonean refugees in Liberia have up to the end of June to be repatriated.

He called on the refugees to take advantage of the opportunity of being repatriated by UNHCR.

Mr. Okello said failure on the part of refugees to be repatriated by the end of June, they will risk being on their own.

In a related development, Mr. Okello has again called on Liberian refugees desirous of returning home to wait for UNHCR’s organized repatriation.

His call comes in the wake of recent reports that 430 Liberian refugees were stranded at sea in Ivorian waters as a result of engine failure of the ship that was bringing them.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.