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Sierra Leonean refugees given Liberian citizenship

2013-06-20 21:52

MONROVIA, June 20, 2013 (AFP) -Liberia granted 300 Sierra Leonean refugees citizenship on Thursday at a ceremony to mark World Refugee Day.

Around 100,000 people fled Sierra Leone to neighbouring Liberia in 1991 when rebels from the Revolutionary United Front attempted to overthrow the government of Joseph Momoh, starting an 11-year civil war that left 50,000 dead.

Most returned but around 4,000 remained, with 1,500 opting to apply for naturalisation in 2010, more than a decade after the end of the conflict.

"You have to remain law-abiding and productive citizens of the republic of Liberia," senior judge Jeeplah Tiklo Konton reminded the country's newest citizens while stamping their papers at Monrovia City Hall.

Weatonia Dixon Barnes, of the Liberia Refugee Repatriation Resettlement Commission, said the granting of citizenship to the 300 marked a milestone.