Liberian Refugees are presently languishing under Police protection at the Gondama Refugee Camp; since they were rescued from the hands of unknown assailants last year at the Camp.
The Liberian Refugees were attacked by unknown assailants dressed in black mask at midnight forcing their way into the shacks; armed with sticks and machetes with the ultimate aim of killing an entire refugee family and destroying their belongings.
The assailants ran out of luck when the refugees shouted and cried for help; hence nearby refugees and Police Personnel attached to the Gondama Police Post had to rush to the scene to rescue them.
According to the Police Commander attached to the Gondama Police Post, Christiana Mackavory, in an interview with this Press recently confirmed that, indeed the refugees were attacked at mid night and their shacks badly damaged with windows and doors ripped off. She added that the unknown assailants fled the crime scene to a nearby forest; adding that an extensive man hunt was carried out in the forest in collaboration with residents of Gondama and some of the Liberian Refugees but no trace was found to identify the culprits.
The Police Commander also told this press that, victims of the attack were escorted to the Gondama Post for safety as their lives were under serious threat.
She lamented the inhuman conditions of the Refugees since last year as they have been cramped on haggard mattresses which lay on the bear floor of the Police Station with an oozing stench of urine and feaces flowing from an opposite cell of the Police Station, making it very difficult for the refugees to survive.
The Commander also intimated that their conditions are deteriorating on a daily basis as they lack adequate shelter, food and medicine; since most of the refugees rely on hand outs from friends and sometimes do menial jobs in communities by breaking stones and hauling sand to earn a living, only to retire in the evening to sleep in the open air at the Police Post.
“We are not comfortable working in an environment like this, but the refugees have no where to go, and UNHCR is not doing much to help the victims of the attack” she complained.
One of the Refugees under Police Protection, Mamaie Mbonda, surrounded with her kids broke into tears as she narrates her ordeal in the hands of the unknown assailants; coupled with the deplorable conditions they live in.
Mamie cried bitterly as a result of the suffering they are going through, “my children are sick and we don’t have food to eat and nobody cares for our well-being here, even the UNHCR Office in Sierra Leone” she complained.
Her physical wounds would eventually heal but her mental scars would no doubt last a lifetime she also complained of constant harassment and intimidation in the camp “if nothing is done to help us we are going to die in Police Custody” she said.
She stressed that they are vulnerable in the hands of the Police, as diseases and malnutrition has weakened the immune system; making them susceptible to diarrhea and other diseases.
The UNHCR Office in Sierra Leone is alleged to have refused to take up the responsibility in addressing the inhuman and deplorable conditions of the refugees who are languishing in the refugee camp and under Police protection but investigations continues.
By Saidu Bah