About 151 Ghanaian migrants who entered into Libya illegally are expected to be repatriated to Ghana by Charter in an upcoming evacuation and voluntary return exercise being spearheaded by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
This was contained in a letter dated March 5, 2018, and addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
The specific date for the repatriation of the illegal Ghanaian migrants is immediately not known.
However, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, addressing Parliament over the alleged sale of African migrants in Libya, Wednesday, said her outfit has already informed the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to prepare for this “imminent” evacuation exercise.
Further to that, a total of 72 identified Ghanaians in Libya have been issued with Travel Certificates to Ghana.
This follows the visit of a five-member team that was constituted with membership from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ministry of the Interior, the Research Department and the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to ascertain the facts on the ground and to establish the extent of the involvement of Ghanaians in the alleged slave trade, whether as victims or perpetrators.
The team, according to the Minister, while in Libya interviewed inmates in six (6) detention camps in various parts of Tripoli.
Out of the six camps in Tripoli, the team visited four (4) namely; Tarek Sikr, Tarek Matar, Janzour and Benghashir, the Minister further stated.
“For security reasons and upon advice of the Libyan authorities, inmates of the other detention camps namely, Zawiah and Tajoura, were transported from their base to the Tarek Sikr camp to enable the team interview them. In all, seventy-six (76) individuals who had indicated that they were Ghanaians, upon their arrest, were presented to the team for interview. The team positively confirmed seventy-two (72) as Ghanaians. The remaining four (4) whose nationalities were in doubt were suspected to be of Nigerian and Sierra Leonean origins”.
“These seventy-two (72) Ghanaians had been arrested and detained for various offences including; entering Libya illegally, possession of fake documents including fake Ghanaian passports, attempting to embark on the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean to Europe or arrested on the high seas”.
She said of the seventy-two (72) Ghanaians identified by the team, seventy (70) indicated their willingness to return to Ghana as soon as possible while out of the remaining two, one indicated his continued desire to travel to Europe and was therefore not willing to return to Ghana.
“The other one indicated he would return to Ghana only after he had worked and saved enough money to sustain him and his family back home in Ghana”, the Minister recounted.