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Sierra Leone: rebels kill 11 in Guinea

Briefing notes

Sierra Leone: rebels kill 11 in Guinea

25 May 1999

Hopes raised by a recent cease-fire agreement between rebels and the government were dampened last weekend when 11 people were killed during an attack by Sierra Leonean rebels on the Guinean village of Tassin during the night of Saturday to Sunday, the fifth such cross-border raid in the Forécariah area this year.

UNHCR immediately sent a mission to Tassin, also the site of a Sierra Leonean refugee camp. According to an initial report 10 of the victims were Guinean civilians and the eleventh was a Guinean rebel. 13 Guinean soldiers, wounded in the shoot-out, have been evacuated to Conakry.

The attack came on the eve of the announced entry into force of a cease-fire between government forces and rebels in Sierra Leone, widely reported to have been broken already Monday. The UNHCR representative in Sierra Leone has flown to Togo today, site of the negotiations between the parties, to press humanitarian issues.

Tassin is one of seven camps which are to be shifted further from the border in Forécariah. UNHCR staff are working urgently to ready new sites as there are rumours of further rebel incursions. The Forécariah move concerns a total of 30,000 refugees, while in the eastern Guéckédou area, 10,000 of a planned 50,000 refugees in vulnerable sites have so far been transferred to new camps. Guinea and Liberia host more than 400,000 Sierra Leonean refugees.