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Sierra Leone: exhausted refugees arriving in Liberia

Briefing notes

Sierra Leone: exhausted refugees arriving in Liberia

16 February 1999

Amid reports of renewed rebel attacks on Kenema, in south-eastern Sierra Leone, small numbers of exhausted refugees are arriving in Vahun, northern Liberia. This week 10 new arrivals said they had been walking for four days and nights through the bush after escaping a rebel attack on the town of Segbewema. The town had previously been controlled by Kamajors, traditional warriors who support President Kabbah.

A pregnant woman said she had been separated from her husband and three children in the panic, and that hundreds of people remained scattered in the forest. The group confirmed earlier reports that more than 1,000 people in the town of Bomalu (15 km from the Liberian border) were trying to break away from rebel control and flee.

UNHCR local staff in Freetown have now located some 600 of the 5,000 Liberian refugees who lived near Waterloo before rebel attacks on the capital. They will begin distributing WFP food to the group today.