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Refugees’ influx worrisome

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-Civil group alarms

A civil society group in the country describes the influx of Ivorian refugees here as worrisome and scaring, particularly as Liberians gear up for special senatorial on December 08, 2020.

The COVID-19, Election Monitoring, Violent Prevention Situation Room (CEMVIP-SR ) notes there is an influx of Ivorian refugees that are entering Liberia through Loguatuo border near Nimba County and other areas due to escalating tensions from the recent presidential election Ivory Coast.

“The situation has caused immediate attention of the Liberian government through the Liberia Refugees Repartition and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), and the Internal Affairs Ministry. A high level joint fact-finding mission headed by the Minister of Internal Affairs is currently touring Nimba and other locations of interest to assess the refugees’ situation and explore means for interventions to address their plights,” the group said in a press statement issued over the weekend.

CEMVIP-SR at the same time applauds the Government of Liberia and partners for current intervention, but calls for measures to ensure the presence of the refugees would in no way impact the pending senatorial election or disturb the peace and stability of Liberia.

It points that there are daunting concerns over political tensions linked to use of public facilities by candidates for rallies and voters trucking.

The group notes that on October 28, this year, violent clash took place between supporters of Senator Henry Yallah and Deputy Speaker Prince Moye in Gbarnga, Bong County over a venue for political activities, while on October 29, 2020, citizens of Sakonedu Town, Quardu Gboni District, Lofa County expressed dissatisfaction over the replacement of voter’s cards and the subsequent exhibition process carried on by the National Elections Commission in the district.

It further recalls that on November 10, 2020, it was reported that Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe and supporters were allegedly attacked by political rivals that led to injuries of seven persons, who are currently seeking medication at a local hospital. “We would like to condemn this act of violence and call for civility in the practice of democratic rights at all levels. These could have led to the threats of peace and security of the citizens and residents in those parts of the country,” the statement reads.

Meanwhile, CEMVIP-SR observes the government, thru the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the Ministry of Health has reported an increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 21 persons as of October 26, 2020. The increase of confirmed cases from 1,393 to 1,416 shows a 6.6 percent increase in total case fatalities, with Montserrado County as the seat of national government remaining the epic center of the outbreak. The sharp increase of new confirmed cases of the novel Corona Virus disease is alarming and worrisome.

“In view of this situation, we call on the government to reinforce the observance of health protocols related to the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially ensuring that citizens and residents of Liberian wear nose masks in public places, including supermarkets, stores, market places and at all public gatherings, amongst others.”

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor

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