UN Says Ivory Coast Refugees Returning Home

Posted September 3rd, 2011 at 7:15 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nation's refugee agency says 70,000 Ivorians who fled the post-election violence in their country have now returned home.

The agency says the refugees returned to western Ivory Coast on their own accord in recent months.

More than 173,000 Ivorians are believed to have crossed into Liberia following last November's disputed election and the violence that followed. Another 26,000 Ivorians fled to other countries in the region.

The U.N. refugee agency says it opened a sixth camp in Liberia on Thursday to house 27,000 Ivorian refugees who had previously been living with host communities in eastern Liberia. The agency says the camp will be the last to be opened in Liberia as the security situation continues to improve in Ivory Coast.

The violence in Ivory Coast began late last year when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down despite losing an election to current President Ouattara. At least 3,000 people were killed in the violence.

Mr. Gbagbo was arrested in April by forces loyal to President Ouattara.

U.N. human rights investigators say they have evidence that both sides may have committed war crimes and human rights abuses during the conflict.