Budumburam Structures Demolished

Some of the affected victims busily collecting their belongings.Photo.Ebo GormanThe dwelling places of squatters, some of whom are Liberians, at the former refugee camp at Budumburam in the Central Region, were on Saturday, with the demolished the structures, put up on a five-acre land designated for the Saint Gregory Catholic Hospital, were pulled down in an exercise carried out under the auspices of the hospital authorities, and supervised by the police.

It was to pave the way for the hospital to expand its facilities to provide healthcare for the growing population in the area.

This was after a series of meetings held between the squatters and the hospital authorities could not convince the squatters to vacate the place.

Although some of the squatters claimed the demolition exercise took them unaware, the hospital authorities and the police said they had been asked to vacate the place since last year, but they remained adamant.

The exercise, which was carried out by the hospital authorities with security provided by the police, went on without any hitch, in the early hours of Saturday, Chief Inspector Akwasi Amoah, Budumburam Police Station Officer told The Ghanaian Times.

When The Ghanaian Times visited the area on Saturday, a number of the displaced persons were seen scavenging the debris to remove their belongings, including roofing sheets, wood and rod.

According to Chief Insp. Amoah, the squatters were given enough time to remove their personal belongings from “the make shift houses” before the demolition.

Mr Ayegre Mathias Anaba, the Hospital Administrator, said the exercise, which was necessitated by the need to expand and provide quality health care and training centre for medical staff, was carried out with “human face.”

He said the hospital used to be a clinic operated by the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC) at the settlement, and was handed over to the Catholic health authorities last year when the UNHRC pulled out, after completing their mandate at the settlement.

Mr Anaba said some of the squatters had encroached on the land despite several warnings to them not to trespass the area earmarked for the hospital.

The Buduburam Settlement Camp was established in the 90s to accommodate Liberians fleeing from the civil war that broke out in the country in the early 90s.They have since been under the support of the UNHCR.

With the war over, and relative peaceful political environment in Liberia, the UNHRC invoked the cessation clause which ended the refuges status of the Liberians and started a voluntary repatriation since 2003 for them to return to Liberia to help rebuild their country.

About 3,801 of them had been successfully repatriated to Liberia, while some opted for reintegration into Ghana.

 From Salifu Abdul-Rahaman, Budumburam



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