Monrovia – A Dutch journalist Marijke Kuin of MediArena 2 is seeking the help of Liberians and other West African nationals to establish the identity of a man who was found dead in Holland in November 2001.
For now, authorities are working on the assumption that the young man is a Liberian national but are unsure, fearing that he may have used Liberian nationality
Kuin’s quest is part of a documentary being filmed about unidentified deceased people. “One of our cases we're currently working on is about a man who was found dead in Amsterdam in November 2001.
The Police assume he is from Monrovia, because in the fingerprint database the Police officers found two matches. One othe victim with the name George Wilson was born in Monrovia at 11 November 1959.
And the other time with the name: John Leons, born in Monrovia at 11 April 1959. One of the names could be the right one, but they even could be false. The only clue in this case is that he is probably from Monrovia.”
The journalist has provided a copy of the dead man’s photograph in hopes that it will lead to information about his origins.
Kuin says there are about 300 persons buried without a name on their graves in Holland. “Our program tries to find their names and locate and inform the families. Last season we identified four people and we travelled to Turkey, Russia and Germany.”
A long-time Liberian residing in Holland who declined to be quoted, says it is possible that the man could be a Nigerian or a Ghanaian.
The source said there are thousands of West Africans in Holland claiming the nationalities of other countries and fears he could face accusations of being a snitch.
He says during the early stage of the Liberian civil war, when there were almost no Liberian in Holland and other European countries, many West Africans and other nationals used Liberian passports to claim asylum.
“Students on scholarships and diplomats, many Nigerians and Ghanaians declared asylum as Liberians, using false name.”
The Dutch-based Liberian says when the main group of genuine Liberians started to arrive, during the mid-1990 especially after April 6, 1996 crisis, the asylum procedure had become very tough because the Dutch found it very difficult to believe the stories of the new comers.
“When I arrived here end 1998, I met many West African nationals who had already acquired the Dutch nationality through asylum.
Even though the Liberian community is not too large, most of the people who stayed long here know almost everybody, especially those living in the Amsterdam area. I do not know this guy.”
Many members of the Liberian community in Holland agree that nearly all the Liberians who died there were known by the Liberian community.
“We usually attend sporting activities, weddings, parties and even funeral or burial services together. We also have BENGOMA, the Liberian Mandingo Organization in the Netherlands, beside the main Liberian Association in the Netherlands. So, his death would have awoken the community”, one source added.
For now, Dutch authorities have very little information to go on. “The only thing we know is that the man is found dead in Amsterdam in November 2001. After almost 15 years we still don't know who he is and he is buried in a grave without a name.”
Prior to his death, the deceased twice told authorities at the Dutch Police station that he came from Monrovia. But used two different names the two times he showed up there, leading investigators to believe that his name could be false.
The DNA database in Holland is said to be one of the most up-to-date in the world and every asylum seeker and even illegal individuals who have come in contact with the authorities are asked to provide the contacts of individuals to be contacted in case of emergency.
Every single legal person in the Netherlands is in the Dutch database, with a name, address (or old address) date of birth, place of birth and fingerprints, insurance record (even asylum seekers have free insurance policies, lawyer contacts (all legal aliens or applicants are provided free legal services by the state and are given a lawyer), etc.
Said a Liberian in Holland: “There are thousands of Nigerians who operate underground, are involved in illegal activities, and have the tendencies of providing different names to different individuals and sometimes even give one person two different names, as it was in the case of this individual.”
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Producer Anonymous Graves