Liberia: UNHCR mourns implementing partner deaths
UNHCR is extremely saddened by news that two aid workers for one of our implementing partners, the US-based Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), were killed in Liberia. The workers had been missing since last week's rebel attack in Toe Town, in the east of Liberia. Three ADRA workers, including ADRA's country director for Liberia, Emmanuel Sharpolu, Kaare Lund of ADRA Norway and driver Musa Kita were on their way to visit a Norwegian-funded ADRA project. According to an ADRA press release quoting news reports and the Liberian Defense Minister, the bodies of Mr. Sharpolu and Mr. Kita were found near Toe. There were no details on the whereabouts of Mr. Lund.
UNHCR also remains extremely concerned about the fate of some 2,500 Ivorian refugees and other West Africans who had been staying in our Toe Town transit centre and scattered into the surrounding forest in the wake of the attack. Eyewitnesses say they saw groups of people being marched towards the border by retreating attackers over the weekend. Over the past few days, some of the transit centre residents have reached Zwedru, walking 80 km to the south of Toe Town, where UNHCR has an office and another transit centre for about 8,000 Ivorians and other West Africans.
UNHCR has been assisting some 13,000 West Africans in eastern Liberia on a humanitarian basis, pending a more permanent solution for them to return to their countries. The West Africans are in five transit centres along the border, together with some of the nearly 40,000 Ivorian refugees who have crossed into Liberia since November. Many of the Ivorians however, remain sheltered in border villages and were awaiting transfer to more permanent camps that UNHCR was in the process of setting up when the attack took place. Another 45,000 Liberians have returned to Liberia from western Côte d'Ivoire since November and have been assisted home or into centres for internally displaced persons in Liberia.