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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Instability in West Africa

Desperate Situation in Liberia and the Ivory Coast
The UN reports on the situation in Liberia and the Ivory Coast paint a dramatic picture of human suffering, affecting tens of thousands of people.

The secretary-general's report on Liberia mentions mercenary activities and failing social services as displaced civilians are caught between the Liberian government forces and those fighting for the LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy), which controls 60% of the territory, according to UN sources.

Kofi Annan's report, based on information from ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), the UN office in Liberia and the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), claims that it is now impossible to get food to large numbers of internally displaced persons in desperate need of supplies.

Referring to the "dire and volatile security situation," the report speaks of the "urgent need to find an early solution to the conflict in Liberia, whose deleterious effect is fast spreading throughout the already troubled sub-region."

ECOWAS has recommended that an international peace-keeping force be sent to the area.

Meanwhile, in the Ivory Coast, tens of thousands of people are currently displaced in the west of the country, where fighting broke out between two new rebel groups in November.

Carolyn McAskie, UN humanitarian envoy for the Ivory Coast, is particularly concerned at reports on human rights violations in the towns of Man and Giuglo.
Today, the a UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for aid for five West African States was launched.