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IDPs in Cote d'Ivoire may be forced back home

Thousands of residents who fled Cote d'Ivoire after post-election fighting broke out in April, may now be forced to return home - even as conflicts continue, IRIN reports.

According to the news outlet, the Cote d'Ivoire government is threatening to close down refugee camps in the West that house 18,455 internationally displaced people (IDP) in 36 sites. It's not clear exactly why the government is taking this action, however humanitarian groups are urging them to stop - questioning where those who have lost their homes will return to.

"Pressure is starting to be put on the displaced [to move], and we say that is not acceptable," Fabrice Bah, an IDP at the Catholic mission in Duékoué, told the publication. "They promised us that they would at least rebuild our destroyed houses before moving us on."

The government has agreed to rebuild 7,800 of the 13,000 homes that have been destroyed because of fighting, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. However, progress has been slow and no homes have been completed thus far.

Those who have homes to go back to are still scared, as the fighting has not ended.

"If they force us to leave, we'll leave," Bah told the news source. "But we would rather seek refuge in Liberia [than return home] because the current situation does not bode well for us building good relationships with armed men."
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