The upsurge in fighting in Liberia has raised concern for thousands of Sierra Leonean refugees. The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, says the Sierra Leonean refugees are at two camps in Sinje, Liberia.
UNHCR spokeswoman Delphine Marie says, “Refugee camps in Sinje, near the border with Sierra Leone, have been cut off to all humanitarian aid for more than two weeks now. We can only maintain radio contact to the refugees thanks to a generator now running short of fuel.”
Raising tension among the refugees are the frequent visits by “pro-government groups allegedly looking for dissidents.” The two camps normally hold eleven thousand Sierra Leonean refugees. But some eight thousand displaced Liberians are now also in the camps.
The UNHCR says the land route from Monrovia to Sierra Leone via Sinje is “impracticable.” So it’s making plans to resume repatriation by sea for Sierra Leoneans who wish to return home. English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua spoke to Delphine Marie about the situation in Sinje.