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Guinea/Liberia: violence - Liberian repatriation suspended

Briefing notes

Guinea/Liberia: violence - Liberian repatriation suspended

14 July 2000

Trouble on the border between Guinea and Liberia has prompted UNHCR to prematurely suspend the repatriation of Liberian refugees. UNHCR is reviewing its plans in case of a possible new influx of Liberian refugees, as was the case during previous border incidents in August last year. We are monitoring the border near Macenta, the prefecture which borders Lofa County where the incidents took place. The Macenta refugee camp is already holding 50,000 refugees from Liberia.

The voluntary repatriation, which resumed in May this year when both borders were again opened following an eight-month freeze, saw more than 5,000 Liberians go home in recent weeks, out of a total of 32,000 who had registered for repatriation this year. The operation was scheduled to stop by mid-July due to expected heavy rains, and to resume in October. But UNHCR fears that this resumption might not be possible because of the new hostilities between the Liberian government and rebels along the border in Lofa County. Once again, there is a big question mark over the future of the 125,000 Liberian refugees in Guinea.