Guinea-Bissau deports 53 refugees to Casamance

Ziguinchor- Senegal (PANA) -- Some 53 Casamance refugees deported from Guinea Bissau arrived Monday night in Ziguinchor, southern Senegal, from Sao Dominga where they had been since last week.
They were met at the border by local administrative authorities and NGOs represented in Ziguinchor, which took them to Ziguinchor's children's centre for further assistance.
The returnees - 33 children, 13 women and seven men - appeared to be very tired but were in good health, health authorities said.
Asked about the conditions of their deportation, they maintain that Guinea Bissau security forces were very brutal with them, burning their huts in some cases.
According to the refugees, 11 huts were burnt in the locality of Sunkutoto, the point of departure of the operation, which subsequently spread to the villages of Bofa, HLM Texas, Madina and Nhiambalang, which hosted refugees.
To justify the deportation, people in Guinea-Bissau accused them of coniving with the MFDC rebels, who were suspected of using these villages as rear bases.
But they denied this.
After their deportation, most of them had settled at their relatives homes, themselves Casamance refugees, at Sao Domingo (Guinea Bissau) where they had been since Thursday, the day of their deportation.

29 may 2001 23:49:00

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