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UN Agency to Ship Sierra Leoneans Out of Liberia

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday it could begin shipping home Sierra Leonean refugees trapped in Liberia within days, provided a tenuous cease-fire holds. More than 1,000 Sierra Leonean refugees and displaced Liberians are encamped in U.N. and embassy premises in the besieged capital of Monrovia, the UNHCR said. The refugees are among some 15,000 Sierra Leoneans, many whose whereabouts are unknown, who were previously assisted by the agency in the region around the capital. The agency plans to send a 250-capacity ship from Freetown as early as this evening on the 36-hour journey to Monrovia, so long as it can dock safely in Monrovia, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski told a news briefing. The United States is facing growing pressure to send peacekeepers to restore order in the war-torn West African country after rebel incursions in the capital claimed 700 lives. Full Story

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