/ 14 June 2011

Over 300 000 Côte d’Ivoire refugees still homeless

Over 300 000 Côte D'ivoire Refugees Still Homeless

More than 300 000 people are still displaced in Côte d’Ivoire almost two months after the end of the country’s post-election crisis, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.

“Over the past three weeks, [the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] UNHCR and our partners have registered 322 277 internally displaced people across the country and registration is continuing,” said Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UNHCR.

Most were in the west, north and in the economic capital, Abidjan.

“They told our assessment teams that there are others still hiding in the bush,” added Fleming.

While the situation in the west is improving, Fleming said tensions were still high in the southwestern Sassandra region where more than 280 civilians were killed in early May by supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo.

“An estimated 17 000 people are displaced in the region, including an unknown number reportedly still hiding in the forest,” she said.

Alassane Ouattara was sworn in as president on May 21 after a nearly five-month battle with Gbagbo, who rejected the UN-backed election commission’s ruling that he lost November presidential elections. — Sapa-AFP