General News of Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Source: Daily Graphic

Four Ghanaian hostages in Ivory Coast released

Four Ghanaians who were abducted in Cote d'Ivoire by loyalists of Mr Alassane Ouattara for allegedly spying for Mr Laurent Gbagbo have been released unconditionally.

Rebels suspected to be loyal to President-elect Ouattara last December captured five Ghanaians in Buake, Cote d'Ivoire, for allegedly spying for incumbent President Gbagbo.

They are Johnson Agbeko, Atsu Agbeko, Kobina Agbeko, Avaana and Abdulai. One of them was, however, released earlier on health grounds, while the four were released yesterday.

The five were arrested by the Force Nouvel, elements loyal to one of the factions in the Cote d'Ivoire impasse which accused them of being nationalists working to consolidate Mr Gbagbo's hold on power.

A Deputy Information Minister, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, told the press in Accra that "our brothers have been released from the custody of the rebels without any charges".

He used the occasion to thank officials who negotiated for the release of the Ghanaians and appealed to other Ghanaians in Cote d'Ivoire to remain calm and continue to be law-abiding as efforts were made to restore order in that country.

He reaffirmed Ghana's commitment to maintain the posture of peace and diplomacy, which is in the nation's strategic interest, adding, "We will continue to abide by the collective decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)."

Mr Ablakwa reiterated his call on political activists and commentators to be circumspect in their comments on the Ivorian crisis in order not to jeopardise the lives of about two million Ghanaians in every sector of the Ivorian economy.