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Guinea: evacuation of refugees from troubled Parrot's Beak region nearing completion

Briefing notes

Guinea: evacuation of refugees from troubled Parrot's Beak region nearing completion

25 May 2001

The UNHCR-organised operation to evacuate tens of thousands of refugees from Guinea's troubled Parrot's Beak region is nearing completion. An estimated 2,000 refugees remaining in small groups across several camps and villages inside the insecure area will be transferred to the Katkama transit camp, north of Guinea's southern town of Guéckédou, over the next two days. Most camps in the area are now empty and have been torched by local villagers. So far, 12,000 refugees have been evacuated from camps in the volatile area since the start of the operation on 2 May.

On May 23, Guinean military personnel manning a checkpoint in Badala, a few kilometres south of Katkama searched trucks from Fangamadou and Mangay in the western part of the Parrot's Beak and arrested seven young men. The seven are suspected of belonging to a militia group. UNHCR is concerned about this incident which occurred despite the agreement by Guinean military and local authorities that screening of baggage and refugees would take place before the departure of convoys from camps.

UNHCR staff have noted increased tension in the area, particularly among the military in Nongoa. Nongoa on the eastern edge of the Parrot's Beak area came under rebel attack in early March. On Wednesday, UNHCR staff escorting convoys reported a visible presence of Kamajors, the Sierra Leonean pro-government militia - at checkpoints also manned by Guinean army personnel. This could indicate deterioration in the security climate along the border.