News24

Most Ivorian refugees children - Liberia

2010-12-27 22:28

Monrovia - The majority of Ivorians crossing into Liberia to escape violence in the midst of a political stalemate after a disputed election are children, the information ministry said on Monday.

"Thirteen thousand nine hundred and fifty Ivorians have, to date, crossed the border to Liberia. Eight thousand of these people are less than 18 years old," Information Minister Cletus Sieh said on state radio.

According to him, the refugees are mostly fleeing the towns of Danane and Guiglo in Ivory Coast, to come to Liberia.

Danane is in territory controlled by the New Forces rebels aligned with Alassane Outtara, internationally recognised as the legitimate victor of a November 28 run-off presidential vote.

Guiglo is an area controlled by incumbent Laurent Gbagbo who is refusing to hand over power.

Sieh said refugees were "concentrated in Loguatuo and Butuo, where the local population is sharing their residences with them. The UNHCR has asked to build camps but the Liberian government has not yet agreed to that".

The UN refugee agency warned at the weekend that food supplies were running short despite efforts by the government and humanitarian agencies to bring in more assistance.

Government sources told AFP the decision not to build camps "is to avoid some security problems with people from different affiliations living together in the same camp".

"You could also have some ex-combatants in their midst."