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Aftermath of fighting in northern Liberia

Briefing notes

Aftermath of fighting in northern Liberia

27 April 1999

In the wake of fighting last week around the northern Liberian town of Voinjama, which forced the evacuation of aid workers to Monrovia, almost 6,000 Liberian refugees have crossed the border into neighbouring Guinea.

Most of the arrivals left Liberia at the end of last week, and during the last 48 hours the rate of arrivals has slowed down considerably. No injuries have been reported among the group, who fled after a two-day gun battle between government forces and unidentified assailants.

Refugees have come to the towns of Badiaro and Massadou in the Macenta area. Local Guinean officials have asked UNHCR to move the refugees to an established site at Daro. The UNHCR office in Guéckédou is sending additional staff to Macenta to help with the immediate needs in water, food, shelter and protection. Food distribution was started yesterday.

With the assistance of the Liberian Defense Ministry, 10 vehicles and other equipment belonging to UN agencies and NGOs that were looted during the fighting have been recovered, though much of it heavily damaged. Voinjama is reportedly now fully under government control, but tension reportedly remains high in the Voinjama area. UNHCR has put its operations there on hold for the time being.