Diasporian News of Thursday, 21 February 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

Benin repatriates 169 Ghanaians

Authorities in Benin have repatriated 169 Ghanaians who were on transit to Libya.

Aged between 21 and 35, the young men were said to be in possession of fake passports and other forged travel documents.

Most of them are said to be from Dormaa Ahenkro, Kintampo, Techiman, Berekum and Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region.

At the time of the interception in Cotonou, Benin, one of the male deportees was trevelling on the passport of a female.

The Head of Public Affairs of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Mr Francis Palmdeti, told the Daily Graphic yesterday that between January 18, 2013 and February 8, 2013, Immigration officials at the Aflao border had received four batches of Ghanaians who had been repatriated from Benin.

Mr Palmdeti said intelligence gathered so far indicated that human smugglers were diverting the routes of irregular migrants from the Northern frontier to the eastern frontier because of the vigilance of security personnel on the Northern routes.

“Moreover, the eastern frontier has become attractive as a result of the location of a bus terminal in Togo, which has commercial vehicles plying the Togo Niger route,” he said.

Upon interrogation, he said, some of the deportees allegedly confessed that they were assisted by border residents to cross the Eastern frontier near the Aflao border at night via footpaths.

Mr Palmdeti said the Migration Information Bureau of the GIS had embarked on a number of educational campaigners across the country on the dangers of migrating through the Sahara desert.

He said the GIS would not relent in its educational campaigners especially when it was confronted daily with young men whose dreams and aspirations of living abroad had been heightened by false information from friends and those in the business of human smuggling.

The Ghana government with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in 2011 evacuated 16,822 Ghanaians from Libya, who were fleeing the turmoil and conflict in that country.

Barely two years after the evacuation, Ghanaians have begun a return journey to Libya but this time, using another route.