54 Ghanaians arrive through Sahara Desert

Fifty-four Ghanaians have arrived safely in Bolgatanga after they crossed the Sahara Desert in three weeks in their bid to flee the political turmoil in Libya.

After spending two weeks on the life-threatening journey, the returnees became stranded in Niamey, Niger, partly because they were said to have been frustrated by Nigerien border officials.

The returnees had to send a distress call to the Ghana Embassy in Burkina Faso, which dispatched some of its officials to Niamey to help the returnees out.

After securing the returnees’ safe passage across the Nigerien border, the Ghana Embassy officials catered for them and secured a bus for them to continue their journey home.

The returnees were received in Bolgatanga Friday by the Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Mrs Lucy Awuni; the Regional Police Commander, ACP Bright Oduro; Regional Commander of the Ghana Immigration Service, Mr Peter Defie, and some members of the Upper East Regional Co-ordinating Council.

Sharing their horrific experiences with journalists, the leader of the returnees, Mr Osman Saeed, said at a point during their journey they ran short of food and water but with the instinct to survive, they decided to continue the journey rather than perish in Libya.

He said they managed to survive until they got to Niamey, where a consular officer of the Ghana Embassy in Burkina Faso, Mr Abdul Hanan Zubero, and others were dispatched to assist them.

For his part, Mr Zubero said the Ghana Embassy in Burkina Faso had received a distress call that some Ghanaians were stranded in Niamey.

After consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Accra, some embassy officials were dispatched to the Nigerien border to aid the returnees and assist them on their trip back home to Ghana. He said arrangements were then made to cater for them and convey them from Niger to Ghana.

Mr Zubero said the returnees were given between GH¢20 and GH¢50 to pay their fares to their various destinations after the bus hired from Niger had made its final stop in Kumasi.

Welcoming the returnees, Mrs Awuni advised them to put their skills to good use and pledged the government’s assistance to integrate them into society.

She urged the returnees to contact their various district assemblies to see how best the assemblies could be of assistance to them.

Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana