Guinea-Bissau: more fighting, more displacement

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR staff in Bafata, Guinea-Bissau, have been delivering drinking water to people who have fled renewed fighting in the capital over the last week, and tomorrow plan to carry out distributions of food and soap with other UN agencies.

This morning staff report that the situation in Bissau is relatively calm after the arrival of additional West African peacekeeping troops in the city last night. So far, staff are unable to estimate the number of displaced people, but most of them are located in the towns of Safim, 18 km from Bissau, where UNHCR has been tankering water, Nhacra and Prabis.

UNHCR offices in Senegal said this morning that a first group of between 50-150 Bissau-Guineans have arrived in the southern Casamance region. These are the first refugees to have fled the recent round of fighting. Seven thousand fled during 1998 to Senegal, Guinea (Conakry) and Cape Verde.