Thousands of Ivorian Refugees to Return to their Villages.

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The voluntary repatriation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in a
refugee camp in western Côte d’Ivoire began this week with the support of the
Government, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) reported today.

Thousands of people had fled their homes due to the post-electoral crisis in the
country earlier this year. As of last month, 17,000 IDPs were living in camps,
and nearly 170,000 were living with host families and communities.

After consulting with the humanitarian community, the Government started
encouraging people in the camp in Duékoué to return to their homes.

“The return of displaced persons to their habitual neighbourhoods in Duékoué
confirms the gradual return of confidence among communities,” said Ndolamb
Ngokwey, Humanitarian Coordinator in Côte d’Ivoire.

“For this return to remain sustainable, humanitarian actors, traditional and
religious authorities as well as the Government should redouble their efforts in
providing assistance packages and guarantee the safety of lives and property,”
Mr. Ngokwey said.

The repatriation is one of the efforts by the Government to guarantee assistance
and protection to IDPs. In the next few days, 1,308 people that have been living
in a Catholic mission camp will go back to their villages in the western part of
the country. According to a news release issued by OCHA, more repatriation
operations are expected in the near future.

Violence erupted in Côte d’Ivoire when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused
to step down after he lost the UN-certified election to Alassane Ouattara, who
was eventually sworn in after Mr. Gbagbo surrendered in April.

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