Ivorian crisis prompts influx

The ongoing crisis in Cote d’Ivoire has prompted an influx of various categories of displaced persons into Guinea, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Friday.

The displaced, including Guinean evacuees, refugees and foreign nationals in transit, have been arriving mainly at entry points in the southeastern prefectures of Lola and Beyla. However arrivals were also registered in the capital, Conakry, and the eastern town of Mandiana, which is fairly close to Guinea's border with Mali and not very far from both countries' border with Cote d'Ivoire.

From 27 September 2002 to 27 January 2003, the Service National d’Action Humanitaire [National Humanitarian Action Service] and the Guinean Red Cross registered some 52,000 Guineans arrivals.

Between 18 and 29 January, a sudden influx of 1,125 people from Cote d'Ivoire occured at Baala, on Guinea's southeastern border, OCHA said. "Presently, some 510 persons remain at the entry point without means for further transportation," OCHA added in a recent humanitarian update. "The local Guinean authorities have stated their inability to finance onward travels for this group."

"The actual number of Ivorians having arrived in Guinea remains higher, but many have chosen to stay with family along the border or transit via Conakry to Abidjan or elsewhere," OCHA added. "The Croix Rouge Guinenne [Guinean Red Cross] has registered 10,779 Ivorians at entry points along the border in the period since end-September."

Since December, OCHA said, UNHCR had transferred 2,845 Liberian refugees arriving from Cote d’Ivoire to a refugee camp in Laine, bringing the total number of refugees in that camp to 9,315. The Guinean Red Cross had also registered 10,970 persons of other African nationalities who crossed the border into Guinea en route to their countries of origin. Most were Malians, Burkinabe, Ghanaians, Senegalese, Nigeriens and Nigerians.

Before the Ivorian armed conflict, OCHA said, Guinea hosted some 92,536 refugees, of whom about 55 percent were Liberian and around 45 percent Sierra Leonean. Most had chosen to reside in refugee camps, while a significant number stayed in host communities in the southeastern region of Guinee Forestiere.