Transfer of Liberian refugees begins
GENEVA, Aug. 7 (UNHCR) - The U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday it has begun to transfer some newly arrived Liberian refugees in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire to a camp near the town of Guiglo in the west of the country.
Five convoys transferred a total of 428 Liberians and 19 Sierra Leoneans to the Nicla camp in the past two weeks. Another 1,200 refugees will be moved to the same site later.
Since May, when fighting resumed in Liberia's northern counties, a total of 4,563 people fled to Côte d'Ivoire, many of them from the most intense fighting in Lofa and Bong counties. The arrivals reported forced conscription and police intimidation as well as the actual fighting.
The new refugees spontaneously settled in the Danané and Guiglo areas of the country, and those belonging to the Kpelle tribe indicated they would prefer to remain in those regions rather than transferring to the Nicla camp where they would have to live among an estimated 4,000 Liberians from another ethnic group, the Krahn, who have been in exile for several years.
In Nicla, new arrivals are given a plot of land, construction materials, kitchen sets, mats and blankets and receive food for a year.
In a separate development in Guinea, UNHCR Monday began relocating Liberian refugees living along the common border, as well as other groups in Nzérékoré who fled fighting in the Guéckédou and Macenta areas last year.
As many as 5,000 refugees have registered to transfer to a camp at Kola, 35 kms north of Nzérékoré and 100 kms from the border. Kola can accommodate 6,000 people and the agency is looking for additional sites for another 14,000 potential transfers.