Random security checks in Côte d'Ivoire refugee camps concern UN agency
The United Nations refugee agency today voiced concern about visits by security forces to makeshift sites sheltering asylum seekers in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, saying the random identity checks being carried out were making the refugees "nervous" and insecure.
To make the refugees feel safer, the agency says it has rented a big villa with an adjacent plot of land that can house more than 350 people in tents in Atoba district. The agency is presently housing 1,050 displaced refugees in seven centres around Abidjan.
The agency said it has repeatedly asked the Government to provide an alternative site for the refugees displaced in Abidjan to ease their plight and to cut the high rental cost but the authorities have not responded.
Twenty-six Sierra Leoneans from Abidjan, part of a group of about 50 who were rendered homeless by the razing of shantytowns following the attempted coup on 19 September, were scheduled to be flown to Freetown by commercial flight later today, UNHCR said, while another 500 Sierra Leoneans still live in the refugee hosting area, near the border with Liberia.
Meanwhile, the UNHCR office in Liberia reported that the number of Liberians returning from Côte d'Ivoire had increased since the beginning of the instability in that country. Quoting Liberian immigration authorities, UNHCR said close to 7,000 Liberians returning from Côte d'Ivoire had recently crossed the border into Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties in the eastern part of the country.