Liberia: abducted nurses reported safe, might be released soon, UN refugee agency says

Liberia: abducted nurses reported safe, might be released soon, UN refugee agency says

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Five nurses abducted last week by Liberian rebels were reported safe and might be released soon, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.

According to a spokesperson for the UN agency, the leaders of Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) sent a statement to the media on Wednesday, implying that they were ready to release the five women. However, the details of a possible release remained unclear.

In the meantime, Liberian refugees and Sierra Leonean returnees continue to reach Sierra Leone in large numbers despite poor weather conditions caused by heavy rains in the region.

Nearly 600 refugees and returnees arrived on Thursday at the Gendema border crossing in Sierra Leone, bringing the total of new arrivals in a week to 6,000, UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Clark said at a press briefing in Geneva.

An average of 500 to 600 people have been arriving each day, with some 3,000 Liberians still waiting at the Zimmi waystation to be transferred to refugee sites. Further north in Kailahun, some 2,000 Liberian refugees are also waiting for transfer.

More people displaced by last week's attack on Sinje - Sierra Leonean refugees and Liberians - also continued to arrive in the Monrovia area, Ms. Clark said. Some of them are believed to be going straight to one of the five camps that UNHCR is running near Monrovia, while others have been heading for the camps for the displaced.