News / Africa

Ivory Coast Refugees Living With Former Liberian Refugees

Women pound cassava in the village of Zeaglo near the Liberia border in western Ivory Coast, April 19, 2011
Women pound cassava in the village of Zeaglo near the Liberia border in western Ivory Coast, April 19, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Bigger refugee camps are going up along Liberia's eastern border for more than 150,000 people who fled Ivory Coast's political crisis, earlier this year.  Many Ivorian refugees are living in local villages with friends they made during Liberia's civil war.

Nearly 4,000 Ivorian refugees have tripled the population of the Liberian border village, Janzon.  Fleeing political unrest at home, they found old friends in Liberia.  Janzon chief James Mowon lived 14 years in Ivory Coast, during Liberia's civil war.

"Before 1990, we ran away and went to Ivory Coast," said Mowon.  "Nobody would be in this area.  So we stayed there for about 14 years.  My very self I didn't go in the camp.  I was in the town for those years.  So now when they come, I have to hold [help] them and do my best."

Mowon is sharing his home in Janzon with the man who took him in in Ivory Coast, Alphonse Bade.

Bade says Chief Mowon and his family came to live with them during Liberia's civil war. Now they have come to his village along with people from 11 other Ivorian villages.  Bade says they are welcome here and have been given land to farm and build houses.

The United Nations refugee agency's Sianie Zaza Kolubah says the reception in Janzon has been remarkable.

"They are so hospitable to the refugees," said Kolubah.  "Even if services are delayed in going to that community, they are already integrated in the community making their farms on land provided by the local community, and they have got houses built there to shelter them also."

With the Liberian government trying to move more Ivorians into camps, Kolubah says many of the refugees in Janzon intend to stay put.

"During the Liberian war, refugees who left from Liberia to Ivory Coast stopped with people who also fled this Ivorian war," Kolubah added.  "So those who were hosted as Liberian refugees in Ivory Coast do not want their host to go to the camp. They want them to stay with them no matter what it is.  So, [with] these kind of refugees, it will be hard for them to go to the camp."

Bade says it is not yet safe enough to go home, so Ivorian refugees are settling in to Janzon where he says they are respected like family.

We speak the same language, Bade says. When Liberians were in danger, they came to Ivory Coast.  Now that Ivorians are in danger, they have come to Liberia.  It is what Bade calls "a fraternal union."

Aid groups are in Janzon to help the refugees and their hosts.  The U.N. refugee agency and World Food Program are delivering food. There is free health care at the clinic provided by the British medical group Merlin.

With another 11,000 Ivorian refugees living in areas around Janzon, Chief Mowon says the people of his village are prepared for the long-haul because they know how long they were refugees themselves.

"I am appealing to them not to go yet," said Mowon.  "Let them be with me. Whether 10 or 15 years, they will be here."

Many refugees say they would rather stay in villages where they are closer to the border, closer to the crops they have planted and are living with friends and family. For the moment, the government of Liberia says relocation to refugee camps is not mandatory.


You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid