Source:| Edward Kollie, Liberia

Liberian Immigration Service (LIS) has deported 20 Burkinabes for illegally entering Liberia.

The 20 Burkinabes were arrested in Liberia’s Southeastern County of Gedeh along the Liberian-Ivorian border.

Col. Abraham Dorley, LIS Director of Communications said the Burkinabe nationals were arrested and deported on three counts including illegal entry, lack of resident and work permits and illegal employment.

According to Dorley, the 20 Burkinabes, all men, entered Liberia’s border through unauthorized border posts from Ivory Coast and were also involved with illegal businesses including mining.

He noted that the men who were allowed to leave the country through the Ivorian border were apprehended through the help of local residents and authorities of Grand Gedeh County.

He said the Burkinabe’s were escorted to the Ivorian border and turned over to Ivorian security authorities who accepted to escort them back to their native Burkina Faso.

Col. Dorley explained that while it is true that the LIS is heavily challenged to perform her constitutional mandate, the LIS is working to ensure that Liberia’s border is secure and not used by people to illegally enter the country.

Liberia has about 986 miles-long borders with many entry points, but almost 90% of them are not recognized by authorities.

The few that are regarded as an entry points are very poorer. Counties including Lofa and Nimba in the North and Grand Gedeh, Maryland, River Gee in the Southeast, and Grand Cape Mount in the West have close ties with Liberia’s three neighbors which include Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast due to their proximity to those countries.

Liberian citizens in these counties are mostly involved in cross- border trade with her neighbors using border points not recognized by authorities.

Apart from trade, they also carry out farming activities on each side of the border.

Since Liberia returned from a brutal civil war and stability was restored by the United Nations, the country has witnessed increase in the number of aliens and foreigners entering her territory to stay. Among them are Guineans, Sierra Leoneans, Burkinabe, Chinese and Indians.

Many of these alien and foreigners who enter Liberia illegally and most often without acquiring resident and work permits often compete with Liberians for technical jobs including construction, carpentry, motor bike riding (transportation) and unskilled jobs like store-boy with Fulanis, Chinese, and Indians who own major businesses and companies in the country preferring their compatriots.

Many Liberians cannot really reflect on when last did the Immigration Service made such a big arrest but the latest move is a big boast for an  Immigration force that has always complain of lack of adequate support as reason for her inactiveness to secure Liberia’s 986 miles-long borders with her neighbors.

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