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Liberia: nurses reported safe

Briefing notes

Liberia: nurses reported safe

28 June 2002

UNHCR on Wednesday learned that five Liberian NGO nurses held by LURD rebels were safe and might be released soon. In a statement, sent to media on Wednesday, the leaders of LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) implied that they were ready to release the five women, but the details of a possible release remained unclear. UNHCR reiterates its call for the immediate release of the nurses, who were taken by the rebels during an attack on Sinje camp in Liberia last Thursday.

In the meantime, Liberian refugees and Sierra Leonean returnees continue to reach Sierra Leone in large numbers despite poor weather conditions caused by heavy rains in the region. Nearly 600 refugees and returnees arrived on Thursday at the Gendema border crossing in Sierra Leone, bringing the total of new arrivals in a week to 6,000 people. An average of 500 to 600 people have been arriving each day. Some 3,000 Liberians are still waiting at the Zimmi waystation to be transferred to refugee sites. Further north in Kailahun, some 2,000 Liberian refugees are also waiting for transfer, having entered Sierra Leone recently.

More people displaced by the attack on Sinje - Sierra Leonean refugees and Liberians - also continue arriving in the Monrovia area. Some of them are believed to go straight to one of the five camps that UNHCR is running near Monrovia, some others headed for the camps for the displaced.