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General News of Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Source: Daily Guide

Six Iraqis deported from Ghana

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has repatriated several foreign nationals totaling about 50 of Middle Eastern and Asian origins for their involvement Inhuman trafficking, using Ghana as, a trarilit point.

The deportees were made up of 10 Lebanese, six Palestinians, six Iraqis, 16 Sri Lankans and 12 Bangladeshis who were busted in several operations in Accra and other entry points to Ghana.

Their Ghanaian counterparts, who master-minded the Illegal entry of the foreigners into the country had also been arrested and put before the law courts.

Speaking to Daily Guide in an exclusive interview, Laud O. Affrifah , the Comptroller at GIS Headquarters in Accra, stated that the latest deportation took place on Saturday February 23, 2008, with four Iraqis being repatriated to Syria, their place of origin.

According to him, the four Iraqis, whose arrest generated a lot of waves in the country, were smuggled into Ghana from Lome, Togo, after they had soughht refuge in Damascus, Syria.

The Iraqis were said to have been smuggled into the country under the cover of darkness through unapproved routes, by three Ghanaians led by one Ibrahim Zuberu, a Lecturer at the Accra Polytechnic.

Mr. Zuberu is the elected National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate for Agona West constituency of the Central Region.

His two other accomplices, one of them a traveling agent, were however said to be at large.

Comptroller Affrifah stated that Mr. Zuberu and his cohorts were in the process of securing false documents for the Iraqis to travel abroad when intelligence information reached his outfit, whereupon the culprits were busted at their Dzorwulu hide-out.

As part of their modus operandi as mentioned by Comptroller Affrifah, Mr. Zuberu and his group secured false South African passports for their 'victims' to enable them travel abroad.

The Iraqis told the officials of GIS when they were busted that they had paid $12,500 to their agents for the necessary documents to travel to Europe.

The Comptroller told the paper that the Iraqis were supposed to travel on December 26, 2006 but the trip was aborted. They were subsequently arrested and then deported to Syria where they had applied for a refugee status.

Mr. Zuberu was arrested and put before an Accra court where he was given bail and asked to reappear today.

In another development, two Lebanese brothers Ali and Mohammed Hussein, operators of Phoenician Restaurant at Dzorwulu have been arrested for dealing in human trafficking.

The two brothers were arrested for illegally using Ghana as a transit point to smuggle out Lebanese, Palestinians and people from other Middle Eastern countries.

Comptroller Affrifah again noted that his outfit had a tip that the trafficked persons were coming to Ghana under the pretext of going to Lome enroute to Europe.

A surveillance team was placed at the Aflao Border but the trafficked persons and their agents did not appear there.

Further information gathered showed that attempts were being made to smuggle them to Europe while in Ghana.

Two of the Lebanese were said to have gone to the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to board a KLM flight but officials of the flight became suspicious and declined them admission on board the flight.

The KLM officials however failed to notify GIS officials at KIA but Ali Hussein, who was said to have no residence permit to live in Ghana, went to the KLM office to reclaim the money he had paid for his ticket.

He was subsequently arrested and when he was sent to the restaurant at Dzorwulu eight other Lebanese were picked up there.

Comptroller Affrifah indicated that his team mounted operations at the Prampram Barrier on the Accra-Aflao road where six Palestinians were arrested on their way to Lome.

Mohammed Hussein, who had a residence permit, had his permit revoked and the two were repatriated and restrictions placed on them never to be allowed into Ghana.

Comptroller Affrifah told Daily Guide that the other arrests were made last year and that Ghana was becoming a transit point for human trafficking.

He attributed the surge in human trafficking to the influx of some major airlines into Ghana.

Comptroller Affrifah gave the assurance that a monitoring system had been put in place to ensure that human trafficking was nipped in the bud.


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