As Liberians return home UN agency to close regional office in southern

The last convoy from the Kountaya and Télikoro camps on Friday was organized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and local authorities in Kissidougou and Gueckedou districts and brought back 119 Liberian families (297 persons), a spokesperson told reporters in Geneva today. “The 61st convoy ended the UNHCR repatriation operation for Liberian refugees in Guinea’s Kissidougou region, launched on 10 May 2005. Since the beginning of organised voluntary repatriation to Liberia in November 2004, over 38,000 Liberian refugees have been repatriated with UNHCR assistance,” said Ron Redmond. “The closing of the UNHCR office in Kissidougou at the end of this month will be a landmark in achieving UNHCR’s objectives in Guinea and will end an 18-year presence helping Liberian refugees in the area.” Yesterday, UNHCR started the relocation of the remaining 3,000 Liberian refugees in Kissidougou’s Kountaya camp. These refugees either cannot or would not return to their homeland. Those originating from Lofa and Nimba counties in Liberia are being moved to Kouankan and Lainé camps respectively. The relocation should be completed by 15 September, Mr. Redmond said. More than 33,000 Liberian refugees remain in Guinea. Almost all of them are still in the refugee camps located along the Guinean border with Liberia. In all, there are still 142,720 Liberian refugees in the region, outside their homeland, primarily in Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Ghana. read more