Cliff: I know diddley about West Africa (other than the insights I got from the greatly under-appreciated book & movie A Good Man in Africa), but a reader offers the following:
Derb—Discussing the Ivory Coast numbers with a Liberian friend, he explains it easily:
• Liberian civil war is pushing vast numbers of refugees towards the Ivory Coast
• IC (along with most other African countries) is refusing admittance to those with any visible symptoms of AIDS
• He relayed an eyewitness account of a refugee ship from Liberia being met at the port with guns. Only women and children were going to be allowed to debark, if anyone.
Just think back to bird flu, the initial days of AIDS, and the Accidental Tuberculosis Tourist cases. It’s fairly easy to imagine that nobody in Africa wants anyone from any other part of Africa.
[Me] Last words in the aforementioned book: “The thunder passed on towards the coast and, somewhere, Shango, that mysterious and incomprehensible god, flashed and capered happily above the silent dripping jungle.”
My vague impression from news stories out of W. Africa is that Shango is still capering.