An official says that more than 170 Ivory Coast ex-combatants being held in a refugee camp in Ghana's west have escaped.

Ken Dzirasah, chairman of the Ghana Refugee Board, said Friday that the ex-combatants likely fled because the board decided to move them to a newly built prison temporarily. He denied that the situation posed a "grave security threat."

It is unknown how many Ivorian ex-combatants are in Ghana. Ivory Coast's president last year demanded their repatriation to face trial for committing humanitarian and war crimes. Ivory Coast also issued warrants for their arrests, and urged they be handed over.

Thousands of refugees from Ivory Coast remain in Ghana.