Côte d'Ivoire + 4 more

Côte d'Ivoire emergency: Key locations explained, updated 16 Jan 2003

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(Situation as of January 16, 2003. Listed in alphabetical order.)

ABIDJAN

Commercial capital. Hundreds of refugees and thousands of foreign residents of Abidjan have been forced from their homes because of anti-foreigner violence and government policies since September.

BLOLEQUIN

Town seized by rebels in early December. Government forces counterattacked in early January. Town remains in rebel hands. Town sits in center of country’s cocoa region.

BOUAKE

Country’s second-largest town, with 600,000 people, controlled by rebels since first days of the insurgency. The World Food Program has opened an office in Bouake as part of effort to deliver food to 120,000 beneficiaries in northern and western areas. Bouake is located about 220 miles (350 km) from Abidjan.

BOCANDA

Town in central Cote d’Ivoire cited in some reports as a potential destination of thousands of displaced persons currently congregated in southwestern San Pedro. Bocanda is located 50 miles (80 km) east of Yamoussoukro.

BOUNA

Town reportedly remains in government hands despite threats of rebel attacks in mid-December. Bouna is located less than 15 miles (about 20 km) from the border with Burkina Faso, and about 25 miles (40 km) from the Ghana border.

DALOA

Provincial capital briefly seized by rebels before government army regained control. Daloa is located about 250 miles (400 km) from Abidjan and 75 miles (120 km) from Yamoussoukro.

DANANE

Home to tens of thousands of Liberian refugees since 1990. Insurgent attacks near Danane in early December reportedly pushed up to 20,000 Liberian refugees and Ivorian citizens into neighboring Liberia. Thousands of others might have fled to other areas of Cote d’Ivoire. Danane is located about 15 miles (30 km) from the Liberian border.

DAOUKRO

Town In central Cote d’Ivoire cited in some reports as eventual destination of many displaced persons fleeing from the southwest. Daoukro is located 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Yammoussoukro.

DIDIEVI

Town located between Bouake and Yamoussoukro has become significant transit center and congregation point for displaced persons since early January. Some 8,000 uprooted persons have temporarily settled in Didievi, and some 15,000 others have transited the town in route to other destinations.

DUEKOUE

Key base for French troops patrolling front lines in west. Rebels attacked French positions in or near Duekoue in late December and again in early January. Town reportedly contains 25,000 displaced persons. Duekoue is located 220 miles (350 km) from Abidjan, and is less than 30 miles (50 km) from rebel-held town of Blolequin.

GHANA

Some 300 Ivorian refugees have fled to Ghana, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). No information is available about other population groups in Cote d’Ivoire that might have fled to Ghana. Ghanaian officials have so far refused to allow UNHCR to transfer endangered Liberian refugees from Cote d’Ivoire to Ghana.

GRABO

Town in southwestern corner of country, on Liberian border, captured by rebels in early January. Government army allegedly counterattacked with helicopter gunships on January 9, reportedly killing 15 civilians.

GRAND LAHOU

Town was chosen by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as a safe new relocation site for thousands of Liberian refugees trapped in Cote d’Ivoire. Town residents, however, rejected the plan in early January for fear that rebel combatants might infiltrate the refugee population. Grand Lahou is located on the coast, 90 miles (150 km) west of Abidjan.

GUIGLO

Residents reportedly fled Guiglo town in mid-December in anticipation of rebel attack. Until recent events, Guiglo served as base of operations for international relief workers providing assistance to Liberian refugees at nearby Nicla camp. Guiglo is located 30 miles (50 km) from the Liberian border.

GUINEA

Some 30,000 Guinean nationals who lived and worked in Cote d’Ivoire have fled to Guinea, as have some 3,000 Ivorian refugees and Liberian refugees who previously lived in Cote d’Ivoire, according to reports. These numbers are plausible but not necessarily reliable. Guinean officials on the border allegedly have denied entry to some Liberian refugees seeking to enter Guinea from Cote d’Ivoire.

KORHOGO

Country’s most important northern town, controlled by insurgents since September. Humanitarian conditions are reportedly decent. Medecins Sans Frontieres uses town as base for medical programs for up to 1 million people in the area, and World Food Program has opened an office in the town. Korhogo is located about 390 miles (630 km) from Abidjan.

KORO

Town reportedly fell in early December to rebels. Koro is located about 20 miles (about 30 km) from the Guinea border.

LIBERIA

More than 50,000 people reportedly have fled into Liberia from Cote d’Ivoire since November, including approximately 20,000 Ivorian refugees and 30,000 or more Liberian refugees who no longer could find safe refuge in Cote d’Ivoire. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is still struggling to transport new arrivals away from Liberia’s remote border area to safer and more accessible locations. Many of the Liberian returnees reportedly are making their way to home villages.

MALI

Nearly 1,000 Ivorian refugees reportedly have fled to Mali. No reports are available regarding other population groups that might have fled to Mali from Cote d’Ivoire.

MAN

Key administrative town in country’s western border region temporarily fell to rebels in late November, was recaptured by government forces, and fell again to rebels in mid-December. Man has been a significant congregation point for displaced persons fleeing from other towns in the west, and was previously host to significant numbers of Liberian refugees whose current whereabouts are unclear. Man reportedly has received an influx of displaced persons heading north from Duekoue in recent weeks.

MANKORO

Government helicopter gunships attacked this rebel-controlled town in north-central Cote d’Ivoire on approximately January 1, reportedly killing 12 civilians. The French government condemned the helicopter attack as "unacceptable." Mankoro is located about 60 miles (100 km) north of Yamoussoukro.

MONOKO-ZOHI

Site of mass grave discovered in December containing some 120 bodies. Rebels contended that mass grave contained African immigrants massacred by government troops. Current control of town is unclear from news reports. Monoko-Zohi is located due east of Man.

NICLA

Country’s main camp for Liberian refugees in recent years, normally sheltering some 15,000 refugees. Some Liberians reportedly have fled from Nicla because of violence, while other Liberian refugees have fled to Nicla from more dangerous locations. UN High Commissioner for Refugees proclaimed that evacuation of Nicla’s remaining 8,000 Liberian refugees is its highest priority, but alternative sites for the refugee population have not been found. Nicla is located about 40 miles (about 65 km) from the Liberian border.

ODIENNE

Provincial capital in northwest corner of country, controlled by rebels since September.

SAN PEDRO

Coastal town of 400,000 and country’s second most important trading center. Still under government control, but potentially threatened by rebels’ capture of nearby town of Grabo in past month. San Pedro is currently a major transit point for Ivorians fleeing from western areas to other regions of the country. Red Cross workers warned in early January of potential disease outbreak linked to influx of uprooted people into San Pedro. UN High Commissioner for Refugees hopes to use town as an evacuation transit center for Liberian refugees when an alternative refugee site is found. San Pedro is located about 220 miles (about 360 km) from Abidjan, about 80 miles (130 km) from the Guiglo/Nicla area that shelters thousands of Liberian refugees, and some 35 miles (60 km) from the town of Tabou where thousands of Liberian refugees have long resided.

SEGUELA

Provincial capital controlled by rebel forces.

TABOU

Tens of thousands of Liberian refugees have lived in the Tabou area since the early 1990s. Plans by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to evacuate Liberian refugees from Tabou suffered a setback in early December when rebels deliberately damaged a Tabou ferry needed by Liberian refugees to cross the river forming the Liberia-Cote d’Ivoire border. Town reportedly remains under government control, but fears of attack caused heavy population movements from Tabou in mid-January.

TOUBA

Reportedly controlled by new rebel groups since late November.

TOULEPLEU

Rebels captured the town in early December. Government forces mounted strong counterattacks in mid-December and early January. The condition of thousands of Liberian refugees as well as local residents in the Toulepleu area is unknown.

YAMOUSSOUKRO

Official national capital, still under government control. Insurgents have reportedly advanced within 30 miles (50 km) of Yamoussoukro. The World Food Program operates in the town. Yamoussoukro is located about 130 miles (about 210 km) northwest of Abidjan.

Compiled by U.S.Committee for Refugees
January 2003