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Fleeing Ivorian refugees arrive in Liberia with horrifying stories

UN peacekeeping solider in Ivory CoastUN peacekeeping solider in Ivory Coast
June 11, 2012

After last Friday’s skirmishes in Western Ivory Coast, 17-year-old Ange Joel found herself cut off from her parents and streaming over the border into neighbouring Liberia due to what appears to be the latest eruption of hostilities in the West African nation.

Ange, who had trecked for nearly three days,  is among the latest influx of Ivorian refugees who have been fleeing into Liberia from areas in and around town of Tai, where at least 8 civilians and seven UN peacekeeping soldiers from Niger were killed in an amush last Friday.

Relief worker Albert Brooks of the Dennish Refugee Council told West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) in an interview from Fishtown, River Gee county on the Liberian border, that close to 200 Ivorian refugees had arrived through that border point by Sunday evening.

Brooks said Ange and other refugees, who include women and children, have been telling horrifying stories of killings and burning of houses back in Ivorian border towns.

‘’She said family members were killed and this is how she was seperated from her family, followed a group and managed to find her way in the Glaro area,‘’ Brooks told WADR.

The fleeing Ivorian refugees frther said that the situation in Western Ivory Coast seemed to have degenerated into inter-ethnic clashes.

WADR’s Frank Sainworla interviews relief workerAlbert Brooks.

Click audio below to listen

It’s not yet established who carried out the ambush and attack that killed the seven UN peacekeepers and the civilians.

But Ivory Coast deputy Defense Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said the attackers were mercenaries who came from across the border in neighbouring Liberia.

The Liberian government has said it’s territory has not been used for cross-border raids and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf over the weekend order the closure of the country’s long and porous border with Ivory Coast and deployment of Liberian troops.

Meanhwile, many Liberians, mainly traders, are said to be stranded on the Ivorian side of the border.

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