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First Liberian repatriation from northern Côte d'Ivoire

Briefing notes

First Liberian repatriation from northern Côte d'Ivoire

15 September 2006 Also available in:

UNHCR this week organized the first repatriation convoy for Liberian refugees from areas of Côte d'Ivoire under the control of the Forces Nouvelles. Our repatriation operation for Liberian refugees has been underway since October 2004, but until now all return movements of Liberians from Côte d'Ivoire came from government-controlled areas.

The first group of 198 refugees left from the town of Danané in western Côte d'Ivoire near the border with Guinea and Liberia on Tuesday (12 Sept.). They spent the night in a primary school in the village of Gbinta, close to Liberian border, where they received food and a medical examination. On Wednesday morning, the returning refugees crossed the bridge over the Nihon River, which separates the two countries. On the Liberian side, the group was received by UNHCR and its partners and taken to their places of origin.

Upon arrival in Liberia, returnees receive an assistance package consisting of basic domestic items (plastic sheets, kitchen sets, blankets, buckets, mosquito nets, lanterns, sleeping mats, soap, and luggage bag) and sanitary kits. Returnees are also provided with a two-month food ration, cash allowance and onward transportation to their communities of origin.

Out of some 38,000 Liberian refugees in Côte d'Ivoire, about 2,000 are in Danané. Since October 2004, nearly 80,000 refugees have returned to Liberia from neighbouring Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire. There are still some 142,000 Liberian refugees in the West Africa region - mostly in Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria.