By Rancy S. Teewia
Liberia Immigration Service’s Commissioner General Col. Roberts W. Budy Sr. says Liberia has received into its borders more than 5,000 Refugees from the two neighboring countries Ivory Coast and Guinea. LIS Commissioner-General Budy disclosed the refugees entered Liberia through borders in four counties, including Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Maryland and River Gee Counties.
Speaking on Thursday, November 12, 2020, at the regular briefing of Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) in Monrovia, the LIS Commissioner-General disclosed that the migration of the refugees into Liberia as a results of political tensions the Ivory Coast and Guinea. Budy said the LIS has been working in collaboration with other institutions, including the Liberia Refugee Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), United Nations High Commission on Refugee (UNHCR) and World Food Program (WFP) among others to ensure that the rights of the refugees are protected.
He explained that Liberia is signatory to the Geneva convention of 1951, which guarantees that all persons fleeing from their respective countries and seeking refuge into another puts the second country, in this case Liberia – under obligation to protect them.
“Because we are signatory to that Geneva Convention, it is our responsibility to protect the refugees as it is the case now.”
At same time, Commissioner-General Budy has also disclosed some difficulties at the LIS. “Liberia has 176 bordering Town with Guinea, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone; and as we speak, the service is able to police only 46 of the 176 border Towns. This, he noted, means that we have six border security actors, which are deployed in the respective 46 Border Towns, which shows a huge difference of unprotected border towns.”
He said however, that the Liberia Immigration Service has mechanisms put into place to secure those borders; and noted that the LIS has established a force called Border Patrol Unit that have been trained, and armed to conduct mobile surveillance patrol along the border towns that do not have state security borders actors deployed.
Meanwhile, the LIS boss explained that some efforts have been made by the border Patrol Unit at the Liberia Immigration Service to secure the territorial confines of the country.
Recently, Commissioner-General Budy said the BPU was able to discover and recovered three Single Barrel Pistols in a little Town in Bong County, and in the northwest of Gbarpolu, especially Bopolu City the unit recovered 555 AK47 aminations.
Liberia immigration service, he added, is a component of the Ministry of Justice charged with the statutory responsibility to enforce all laws relating to immigration, naturalization and citizenship.