Hundreds of armed youths stormed Côte d’Ivoire’s last camp for the displaced outside Duékoué city in the turbulent western region on 20 July. They killed at least six civilians, torched the camp and drove off the 5,000 people staying there in what has been described as an ethnically motivated attack.
Bah Léontine, who managed to escape with her family, sought refuge at the town hall in Duékoué. Suspected members of the Malinké ethnic group, together with traditional hunters known as Dozos, attacked the Nahibly camp hosting 5,083 mainly Guéré people, who had fled their homes during the 2010-11 election violence.
“We Guérés are suffering. We don’t know where we will go next. Since violence erupted in the country we don’t know what to do. We have nothing to eat. At night we can’t sleep peacefully… there are gunshots.
“We can’t escape because when we try to run, they [attackers] say, ‘You will be killed’. Finding food is difficult.
“We fled to the site [Nahibly camp] where the security forces told us that we were safe, and that we could not be attacked. But that Friday morning the Dozos came and said, ‘No Guéré moves! No Guéré moves! If you move we will kill you.’
“We told them, ‘The war is over, why are you still pursuing us?’ They replied, ‘We don’t want to see Guéré in Duékoué’.
“It’s God who saved us. The women tried to escape, but we were pushed and fell to the ground. We managed to escape to the bushes, where we spent three days before coming out. We came here. They only give us bread in the morning.
“I don’t know what I am going to do next. Even if I go back to the village, it’s not safe. Perhaps we will leave Duékoué altogether, because they say they don’t want to see Guérés here.
“I don’t know where we will go. We will just walk away, and if we come across someone who can give us food, we will stay by his side.
“Enough is enough.”
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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions