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UN High Commissioner for Refugees appeals for safety of civilians amid Abidjan fighting

Press Release  28 February 2011

Some of the thousands of people who fled Abobo, a suburb of Abidjan, on Friday.
© UNHCR/H.Caux
Some of the thousands of people who fled Abobo, a suburb of Abidjan, on Friday.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, today appealed for urgent help for civilians caught up in fighting in the Abobo district of Cote d’Ivoire’s Abidjan.

Fighting has been under way for two days, with thousands of people having left the area so far. Fleeing residents told UNHCR staff who visited the area on Friday that many people were still trapped inside, including pregnant women, elderly people, and handicapped people.

“This is fighting in the heart of a major African city. It is imperative that the fighting stop so that civilians can be brought out and to safety,” Guterres said. “The parties involved must do everything possible to avoid any further endangering of the population.”

The fighting that erupted in Abidjan and western Cote d’Ivoire this week has already resulted in a sharp surge in cross-border displacement. On Friday, the Liberian authorities reported that 5,000 people had crossed into eastern Liberia since Thursday, compared to a recent average of around 100 people a day.

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