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Guinea: Parrot's Beak evacuation gains momentum

Briefing notes

Guinea: Parrot's Beak evacuation gains momentum

4 May 2001

The evacuation of refugees from the troubled Parrot's Beak region of south-western Guinea is gaining momentum. On Thursday, the second day of the operation, UNHCR trucks ferried 481 refugees from Kolomba, at the furthest tip of the Parrot's Beak, to the Katkama transit camp. Refugees, who were initially somewhat reluctant to move, now appear more willing to do so. Some were seen preparing luggage while others sold goods at the market, presumably getting ready for the departure. Refugees have been asking UNHCR staff about schooling opportunities, food, shelter and work prospects and freedom of movement in the new sites in Dabola and Albadaria Prefectures, some 200 kms. away from the volatile border area.

Today, UNHCR is scheduled to transfer 796 refugees from the transit camp at Katkama on to Télikoro camp further inside Guinea. Some refugees who arrived in Katkama on the first two convoys from Kolomba expressed relief at being relocated away from the border areas, noting they had regularly heard gunshots coming from the direction of Sierra Leone. UNHCR has hired locally an additional 25 trucks for the convoy operation. Thirty-five more trucks are expected before the end of the week, bringing the total trucking fleet to 85.