Grand Gedeh County Senator Marshall Dennis alarmed that illegal migrants are gradually taking over bordering towns of the county with Ivory Coast on a daily basis. Dennis explains furthered that illegal migrants who are believed to be Burkinabe (citizens from Burkina Faso) are in the neighborhood of over 9,000 inhabitants.
Speaking at a press conference Wednesday August 26, at his Capital Building, Sen. Dennis alarmed that the reported illegal migrants are engaging in cocoa farming and illegal minerals including gold and diamonds mining in the area.
According to the Grand Gedeh County lawmaker, the presence of the reported illegal migrants poses serious national security threats to both the county and the country at large.
“These migrants presence in our territory is a serious national security. In some of the towns and villages they are hoisting their national flag instead of our national flag. This is very scaring you don’t see the presence of the government in those towns. The police and other security institutions operating here presence is totally absent,” he said.
He noted that the illegal migration within the bordering towns of the county began during the early years of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led administration but the administration did little in handling the matter. He narrated that over the period of time there had been series of confrontation between the ‘illegal migrants’ and some Grand Gedeans.
A recent report by the United Nations panel of experts in Liberia highlighted the ongoing insecurity in the border area between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, and the risk of an upsurge in violence there as the corona virus abates and campaigning for this year’s Ivorian presidential elections intensifies.
Underpinning this insecurity is the large number of disaffected young men working for a pittance in dozens of gold-mining camps along both sides of the frontier. Much of the mining is unlicensed and illegal, and the governments in Monrovia and Abidjan have little idea of how much gold is produced, who buys it, or where it ends up.
During the Ivorian crisis few years, about 40,000 refugees live in camps and communities along the border with Côte d’Ivoire, which they fled during the political crisis of 2010. The vast majority are from the Guere ethnic group that inhabited the forests of western Côte d’Ivoire for centuries, and over the past 150 years traded cocoa with Europe and the United States. Though the United Nations repatriated refugees back home but is yet to be established as to whether all refugees return home, Ivory Coast.
Initially these refugees were housed in three camps set up by the UN High Commission for Refugees – PTP, Duogee and Solo – in Grand Gedeh County, not far from the border, but they later moved in deep in Grand Gedeh County.