RealNews

Some Liberian Refugees Have Taken up Arms with Ivory Coast's Army

The bullet knocked out several teeth when it struck the Liberian man in the chin, and now when he smokes, his lower lip sagging, he does so with a hiss. For Augustine Quiah, a 28 year-old Liberian refugee living in western Ivory Coast, the bullet wounds on his face and torso have nearly healed and he is ready for combat. Quiah is one of untold numbers of refugees from Liberia who have been apparently recruited by the Ivory Coast army to defend President Laurent Gbagbo’s government. Tens of thousands of Liberians who fled civil strife in their home country in the 1990s are trapped in the civil war that started last year in neighboring Ivory Coast. “Ivorian authorities have come right here to this building to say they were looking for (recruits) to fight alongside the government,” Liberian Rev. Jacob Kweh said. “There were many that joined.” Concerned about refugees being recruited, former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, head of the U.N. refugee agency, began a five-nation tour of West Africa on Sunday with a visit to Guiglo’s Nicla refugee camp. “We cannot afford to have a militarization of refugee camps,” Lubbers told a room full of refugees. Full Story

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