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Bonino warns West African instability could spread

European Commissioner Emma Bonino has warned that instability from Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau could spread throughout West Africa if speedy political solutions are not found, news organisations reported. “If there is no political solution, chances of instability spreading through the sub-region seem real to me,” Reuters reported Bonino as telling a news conference in Senegal yesterday. Bonino has been on a humanitarian mission to Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Casamance in southern Senegal. While in Guinea Bissau, she brokered a meeting between President Joao Bernardo Vieira and rebel leader Ansumane Mane. According to AFP, she said she had told Vieira and Mane that “on their decisions, depend the lives of tens of thousands of displaced persons”. She said that for the moment, a humanitarian disaster has been avoided in Guinea Bissau, adding that there was no famine but there were health and sanitation problems. She also described as “extremely worrying” the situation at camps in Guinea where a flood of refugees from Sierra Leone had doubled the local population and was putting “an enormous burden” on Guinea. Bonino, who was due to travel to Freetown today, added that the camps were too close to the border and “the risk of incursion” by Sierra Leonean rebels could not be ruled out.

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

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