Burkina Faso + 3 more

Fate of 4,000 stranded Burkinabes worries UN, relief officials

Saclepea, Liberia (PANA) - UN and relief organisations have expressed concern over the fate of more than 4,000 Burkinabes who fled the rebel war in Côte d'Ivoire to Liberia.
The Burkinabes have reportedly been rejected by Guinea Conakry to transit onto another country, according to UN and relief official, Carolyn McAskie.

McAskie, UN Secretary General's Humanitarian envoy for the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, is on a tour of West African countries, including Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Liberia, to gather information on the impact of the Ivorian crisis on these States.

Relief workers said initial attempts to have the Burkinabes travel through Guinea were rejected by the authorities in Conakry, even though other West African nationals were allowed passage through Guinea.

The Burkinabes fall under the so-called "third-country" nationals, who are not the obligation of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), and catering for such a large number is a source of problem, one relief worker told PANA in Saclepea.

McAskie said if the UN could raise the required funds in concert with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a convoy could be organised to take the Burkinabes to Mali which is nearest to their country.

The UN official said she believes Guinea was concerned that such a large number of foreign nationals would swell its refugee population load with the attendant problems.

McAskie said Guinea was "one of the most generous recipients of refugee in Africa," followed by Tanzania, with both countries hosting some one million refugees from crises on the continent.

She said during talks with Guinean officials on the fate of the Burkinabes, she would assure that the Burkinabes would be transported to Mali.

McAskie said the travel documents of the displaced people would also be addressed.


Pan African News Agency
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