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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thousands Flee Crisis in Ivory Coast

Carrying their children and meager belongings, several thousand Ivorians arrived in Liberia on Thursday.

They had trekked through the forest for a day and crossed the river by ferry to escape the political turmoil that is gripping Ivory Coast.             

An estimated 16,000 Ivorians have fled their country to neighboring Liberia since the November 28 election, fearing that an ugly dispute over who won the vote will rekindle the brutal civil war of 2002-03.  
          
Some refugees said their children had not eaten for two days.

One young man was preparing to sell local kola nuts his mother managed to find in the forest, so they can buy food.  

[Sammie Atu Mcgbein, Ivorian Spokesperson for the Refugees]:
"I just want the problem back home to be resolved so that we can return.”
        
Reigning president Laurent Gbagbo has refused to step down after last month's election in Ivory Coast, despite provisional results showing his rival Alassane Ouattara with an eight percentage-point win.
             
[Sammie Atu Mcgbein, Ivorian Spokesperson for the Refugees]:
"I want the international community, including the AU, to persuade Gbagbo to step down and give peace a chance."

An ambassador to the United Nations said this week that the country is on the "brink of genocide."
 

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