The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says it is very disturbed by an attack last Friday, July 20th,
on a camp for internally displaced people, or IDP’s, in western Ivory Coast.
The agency reports the attack occurred in Nahibly camp and left at least seven people dead and dozens more seriously injured.
The UNHCR says the camp housed 5,000 people who were the area’s last group of IDPs linked to violence from the country’s November 2010 presidential election.
“The attack seems to be brought on by a murder that occurred on the night of last Thursday, of a family of four people by unidentified attackers in a district of the nearby town of Duekoue of western Ivory Coast,” said Leo Dobbs, public information officer for the UNHCR in Geneva.
On Friday, July 20th
Dobbs said a group of men who are traditional hunters and often employed to provide security in Ivorian villages went into Nahibly camp and were pushed out by UN troops and police.
“An hour later they returned with about 1,000 members of a tribe called the Malinke, which is a sub section of a bigger community called Dioula,” said Dobbs, who explained, “most of the people are from Gware ethnic group and there’s been tension between them (Dioula), for a year.”
Dobbs said the groups who are from different parts of the country support different political leaders, and it was especially evident in the 2010 presidential elections that led to violence and the displacement of people who are now at Nahibly camp.
Dobbs said the camp is presently in ruins from the attack.
“The medical center is torched as well as the tents of the 5,000 people who were in the camp at the time,” explained Dobbs.
The UNHCR is now working to help those who have not yet returned to their place of origin from the attack, return home and provide assistance to those IDP’s who are in need of food and water.
Listen to interview with UNHCR spokesman Leo Dobbs