As Cote d’Ivoire awaits the results of Sunday’s runoff presidential poll, more than 200 hundred Ivorians and other residents have fled to Liberia's Nimba County in order to seek refuge. Nimba County forms border with the Ivory Coast.
According the Liberia Refugee Reintegration and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC), about 277 refugees have arrived so far, most them women, children and the elderly, many under poor conditions.
Most of those arriving are of the Yacoubah tribe and believed to be supporters of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo. They arrived with their personal belongings.
The Yacoubah, who hail from western Cote d’Ivoire, are Gio speaking Ivorians. This is so because when the European imperialists carved up Africa for themselves in the 19th century, they arbitrary drew boundaries which divided families, leaving, for example, Gios in Liberia while other Gios fell on the Ivorian side.
An agent of LRRRC quoted one of the refugees as saying they are leaving because of threats from the Ivorian rebels if their candidate, Mr. Gbagbo, does not win the election.
All those who have crossed so far came from the region controlled by rebel New Forces, which staged an insurrection in 2002 over allegations of discrimination against Ivorian Muslims, especially from the northern part of the country. The New Forces control areas around the Liberia bordering point of Karnplay, few kilometers from the Liberian town of Loguatuo. Loguatuo is the main port of entry from the Cote d’Ivoire. From Loguatuo, one enters Karnplay.
In another development, the Guinean border remains closed, leaving several Guineans stranded in Liberia.
Also in a somewhat difficult position, Liberian business people who left Guinea before the border was closed are unable to reenter because no one is presently allowed to enter Guinea.