Côte dIvoire UN agency urging quick evacuation of Liberians from endangered camp

UNHCR officials who recently travelled to Nicla camp, which houses an estimated 8,000 Liberian refugees, said the camp’s inhabitants were extremely nervous and insisted on being moved to a safer location. The settlement is a mere 40 kilometres from the line that separates Ivorian troops from rebel forces.A reported rebel attack in the area yesterday, south of the nearby town of Guiglo, caused additional anxiety amid the camp’s population, whose ethnic composition would make it particularly vulnerable if rebels overran the area.The camp originally housed 5,000 people, but it has swollen to about 8,000 since fighting spread to that area of Côte d’Ivoire in late November. Altogether, UNHCR said it plans to evacuate up to 60,000 Liberian refugees who are believed to be trapped by fighting in the western part of Côte d’Ivoire, but the Nicla camp population is seen as a top priority.While Ivorians and Liberians are the main groups uprooted by the crisis, UNHCR has also noted an increasing number of nationals of Guinea, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana, and Mauritania showing up in Liberia in recent days and asking to be taken to their embassies in Monrovia. UNHCR has already registered 500 such people at the border.

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