General News of Saturday, 26 May 2012
Source: Daily Graphic
About 200 former Ivorian militants at the Eagles Camp at Elubo have escaped ahead of their relocation from the reception centre to the old Ankaful Prisons in the Central Region.
The Ghana Refugee Board had planned to relocate the inmates of the Eagles Camp to Ankaful because the camp is too close to the country’s entry point at Elubo, which is less than a kilometre from the border and is considered a threat to national security.
Besides, most of the refugees were said to be belligerent with several reported cases of deadly attacks on fellow inmates, which had resulted in the death of more than three people in less than a year.
About two months ago an inmate was set ablaze by other inmates who considered him to be a threat to them.
At the moment, everybody is at a loss at to how the inmates managed to escape from the camp in the full glare of National Security operatives and officials of the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB).
Perhaps the mention of the name Ankaful Prison made them to think that they were going to be imprisoned hence their escape. The former militants and other inmates of the camp left for town, while others joined their friends at the Ampain Camp.
Officials of the GRB were said to have notified the inmates that they would be relocating them to a more secured place in the Central Region.
A source close to the management of the camp and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) said they were not informed about the plan to relocate the inmates to enable them to psychologically prepare them for relocation.
As part of preparations to relocate the refugees, officials of GRB took their leaders to inspect the Ankaful Prisons and told them that the old prison would now be the new camp for all the militants and other members of the Eagle Camp.
On their return the said leaders misinformed their people at the camp that they were going to be imprisoned so they should not go.
The source said quickly, the ex-combatants fled the camp and when officers of the GRB arrived with a bus to convey the refugees to their new base they met only one person with the tent empty.
When graphic.com.gh contacted the regional office of NADMO, they said they were not informed of the planned relocation of the refugees. The officer, who pleaded anonymity, said it would have been just fair for the GRB and National Security to inform them and the police about the planned relocation.
“Currently as I speak to you, we don’t have any official information, and the whereabouts of the inmates is not known,” he said. Asked why they did not inform the police, since the people were not Ghanaian nationals and they were packing out of their tents, he said it was important also to note that officials of GRB were present when the people were moving out.
The Western Regional Police Command said the role of the police was to ensure the safety and not to restrict their movement.
The Regional Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Moses Ransford Ninson, said the ideal thing was to have informed the police to watch the movement of the refugees, especially the militants, closely.
He said the Eagle’s Camp was not an enclosed place and if they had informed the police they would have ensured their safe passage to Ankaful.
He said they would be collaborating with the sister agencies to ensure that the escapees were identified and brought back.