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General News of Friday, 6 April 2001

Source: Panafrican News Agency

Two Unidentified Ghanaians Die Enroute to Libya

Two unidentified Ghanaians were killed when a vehicle taking them to Libya was involved in an accident in the desert between Niamey and Agades in Niger.

A statement from the foreign ministry said a human trafficking syndicate was apparently assisting the Ghanaians to travel and reside illegally in Libya.

The ministry said eight other people sustained various degrees of injuries. The syndicate abandoned them to fend off for themselves at Muzuk, a town in a remote part of the Libyan desert.

"It is believed that those recruited to undertake the hazardous journey through the desert pay between 2.5 million cedis and five million cedis to the traffickers, who obviously care very little about their comfort and safety," the statement noted (1 USD = 7,000 cedis).

The ministry recently advised the public about the grave risk that the desert journey to Libya entailed.

Meanwhile, about 270 Ghanaians are in detention in Sheba, Libya, and awaiting repatriation.

The ministry said it has meagre resources and it cannot afford the high cost of repatriating the illegal immigrants.