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02.12.2002 General News

Over 1,000 arrive from Cote d'Ivoire daily

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Reports from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ghana indicated that currently about 1,000 to 1,500 people were crossing into that country from Cote d'Ivoire a day. However only about 200 Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees had asked for asylum in Ghana after having left Cote d'Ivoire, OCHA said on Friday.

It said other refugees or potential asylum seekers entering that country had only asked for some humanitarian assistance but had not formally sought asylum in Ghana.

There were also West African immigrants with sufficient economic means to support their journey transiting through the country.

OCHA, said that as the situation in Cote d'Ivoire persists, humanitarian actors expect that West African immigrants of modest means would increasingly constitute the bulk of those seeking to transit through Ghana and may require basic assistance during their stay.

UNHCR has led the development of an inter-agency contingency plan that would be used by the UN system and authorities to determine priority preparedness measures that need to be undertaken in the short and medium term, it said.

The agency had also led inter-agency assessment missions which had helped identify potential reception centres, transit sites and logistics bases, as well as action required for these sites to be ready for the western Brong Ahafa region, including the Dormaa, Jaman and Berekum districts and Bole district in the northern region.

Apart from UNICEF's participation in the missions, it had deployed experienced staff to assess its ability to respond to the implications of the Cote d'Ivoire crisis, OCHA said.

The World Food Programme had propositioned High Energy Biscuits in Tamale northern Ghana and Tema in the environs of the capital, Accra, to cover the needs of some 20,000 people during two months.

Meanwhile, fighting continued on Monday between rebels of Movement for Peace and Justice (MPJ) and loyalists troops for the control of the western town of Man.

The forces launched an attack on the rebel forces on Sunday evening, just hours after French troops evacuated foreigners from the area, BBC reported on Monday.

French troops recaptured Man airport on Saturday and evacuated 40 French nationals and another 120 foreigners - half of them Lebanese - from Man and Danane. Evacuees from Man said the rebels were looting and firing into homes, terrorising the population, BBC reported.

Danane is a town in western Cote d'Ivoire in the hands of another rebel group Ivoirian Populaire Movement of the Great West (MPIGO).

Both groups - MPJ and MPIGO - took over the two towns on Thursday. They are said to include former supporters of late de facto president General Robert Guei, who was killed during a 19 September mutiny that marked the start of an insurgency by another group, the Patriotic Movement of Cote d'Ivoire.

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