African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

More than 2,600 Sierra Leonean refugees opt for Liberian citizenship

Posted by African Press International on November 16, 2007

Monrovia (Liberia) The Liberian government is in the process of granting citizenship to 2,600 Sierra Leonean refugees who chose to stay in the country after the end of a 10 year-old civil war in their country, APA confirmed Thursday.

An official at the Liberia Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration Commission (LRRRC) told APA that the refugees who will go through a process of naturalization, this week began receiving portions of farmland in the north-eastern provincial city of Bensonville, about 60 kilometres away from the capital, Monrovia.

Gortomo Gordon, who is in charge of repatriation and resettlement of refugees, said the decision to resettle the refugees was taken after the voluntary repatriation program ended in 2004.

Gordon said some of the Sierra Leoneans did not want to go back home for various reasons, including being married to Liberians or having lost all their family members in their native Sierra Leone.

Officials of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Monrovia have confirmed that there are more than 3,500 Sierra Leonean refugees still in the country, and that 75 percent of this number, have opted for naturalization.

According to the UNHCR officials, more than 120,000 Sierra Leoneans sought refuge in Liberia at the height of the Sierra Leone conflict which ended in 2001.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@chello.no source.apa

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