Ivory Coast Refugees Continuing to Arrive in Togo, UN Says

Refugees from the conflict in Ivory Coast are continuing to arrive in Togo, six weeks after the civil war in the West African nation ended with the capture of former President Laurent Gbagbo.

Refugee numbers in a camp set up in Togo’s capital, Lome, have increased to 4,800 from 2,700 on April 14, the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ibrahima Traore, said by phone on May 20.

Most of the refugees are supporters of Gbagbo, who was captured by forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara on April 11, almost five months after a disputed election triggered the political crisis, Traore said. Some of the refugees were previously in Ghana and preferred to travel on to Togo because it is French speaking, he said.

“I’m following the reconciliation message of Ouattara and the evolution of the political situation of my country,” Kouassi Constant, a refugee, said in Lome on May 20. “I’m still scared and want to wait before taking the decision to return.’’

A new camp will be opened if the number of refugees exceeds 5,000, Traore said. Only 100 people have expressed an interest in returning to Ivory Coast since the conflict ended, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Etonam Digo in Lome via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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