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Ghana Allowing Liberian Refugees Ashore


Under pressure from relief groups and foreign governments, Ghanaian authorities allowed more than 3,000 Liberian refugees to come ashore Tuesday, ending a hellish journey aboard a rusting freighter that tested the passengers as much as the war they left behind.

The refugees, who fled Liberia 10 days ago, disembarked at the port here and were transported to temporary camps where they will be screened and reunited with family members residing in Ghana.

The Ghanaian government, which leads a regional effort at brokering peace in Liberia, had tried to maintain a hard line as the refugees wandered from port to port along the West African shoreline, seeking a place to land. It argued that giving them sanctuary could prompt an exodus from Liberia that would challenge the fragile economies and resources of its West African neighbors. Officials also feared that if given hope, more Liberians would try to flee aboard boats, canoes and ships that are not seaworthy.

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