BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 01:04 GMT
Alert raised over Liberian refugees
Liberian refugees
Liberians are being dragged into a new conflict

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has warned that the situation of thousands of Liberian refugees in Ivory Coast is about to explode.

It has urged the international community to act now in order to avoid massacres and genocide.

Woman Ivory Coast rebel holding gun
A power-sharing deal with rebels has not ended tension
The agency says up to 40,000 refugees are in imminent danger as anti-Liberian sentiment has reached an all-time high.

A UNHCR spokesman says that since fighting broke out in the west near Liberia, the situation has become explosive.

Liberians had already suffered attacks by government forces after Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo partly blamed September's failed coup on mercenaries from English-speaking countries.

Liberia is an anglophone country, as opposed to French-speaking Ivory Coast.

Thousands of Liberians were rendered homeless as security forces, egged on by the local population, set fire to their homes.

Plea ignored

Now an already over-burdened refugee camp in the west near Liberia is swelling with new arrivals as rebels - often barefoot and drugged - loot, kill and rape.

Other refugees who fled to Abidjan are huddled in makeshift transit camps with little or no security.

Laurent Gbagbo
President Gbagbo has accused Liberia of backing Ivory Coast rebels

Either way, they are sitting targets and the UNHCR fears they could be massacred.

Young men are accused of being rebels and flung into jail or they are forcibly recruited not only by the rebels, but by the government.

The UN agency is struggling to cope as other West African countries refuse to accept Liberians and an appeal to President Gbagbo to find a new safe haven or provide better security has so far fallen on deaf ears.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Bamford
"Reports of confusion and general panic in the Liberian capital"

Key stories

In pictures

Analysis
See also:

07 Feb 03 | Africa
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes