Ivorian refugees flee to Liberia as border attacks escalateBy TERRENCE SESAY | Saturday, August 18 2012 at 12:26
The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) has announced more than 1,000 Ivorian refugees have arrived in Liberia since Monday.
The latest influx comes in the wake of reports of an armed attack on the Pehkan Military Barracks close to the western Ivorian border town of Toulepleu close to Grand Gedeh County in Liberia by gunmen believed to be supporters of ousted Ivorian strongman Laurent Gbabgo.
UNHCR Liberia spokesman Sulaiman Momolu said most of the refugees have returned to the northeastern Nimba County where they sought refuge in the wake of the 2011 election fiasco that led to fighting that reportedly claimed more than 3,000 lives.
Mr Momolu said 75 refugees have been recorded by the UNHCR staff in Maryland County.
In a media briefing Friday Mr Momolu said that most of the refugees are among the more than 2,000 refugees who voluntarily returned to Cote d'Ivoire in late 2011.
The UNHCR however said the latest influx does not amount to an emergency yet.
Meanwhile, a joint committee on foreign affairs and security delegation of the lower house of Liberia’s bicameral legislature Friday held a meeting with Ivorian Defence minister Koffi Koffi on how to address the cross-border attacks into Cote d’Ivoire.
A member of the House of Representatives joint delegation, Mr Henry Fahnbulleh told state radio in an interview via mobile phone from Abidjan that the discussions with the Ivorian officials were successful.
Representative Fahnbulleh said they cited reconciliation and unity as means of resolving the fighting which is nearing Abidjan. He said an earlier meeting with the Speaker of the Ivorian parliament was called off because he had to go to another town which had been attacked by insurgents.
The joint security and foreign affairs delegation has proposed the creation of Mano River Union Parliament among member states.
The Mano River Union comprises Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire.
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