Gov't challenges conflicting IOM figures on stranded Ghanaians in Libya

Gov't challenges conflicting IOM figures on stranded Ghanaians in Libya
Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com |Abubakar Ibrahim
Date: 12-07-2018 Time: 04:07:35:pm
Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Government has conceded some Ghanaian migrants are stranded in Libya as it points to conflicting figures from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) offices in Libya and Accra.

According to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the volatile security situation in Libya has made it difficult to verify the correct figures.

“This is because Libya today has a vast area of its territories in the hands of rival militia groups operating outside the control of the internationally recognized interim government of national accord based in Tripoli.

“Similarly, in view of the serious security situation in the country, the IOM funded a fact-finding mission that was dispatched from Accra to Libya in February this year to ascertain allegations of maltreatment of African migrants in that country could not visit most part of the country,” she explained on the floor Wednesday.

Answering a question from Builsa South legislator Dr Clement Apaak, Ms Ayorkor Botchwey said because of the security situation in Libya, the IOM team was only able to interview 72 people in the four detention camps that it managed to visit.

She said those the IOM managed to talk to were then issued with travel documents to return to Ghana.

The Minority in Parliament has been seeking answers from the Minister since news broke that hundreds of African migrants are being sold in open slave markets in Libya.

Some migrants sold into slavery in Libya

Footage released by CNN from Libya, showed young men from sub-Saharan Africa being auctioned as farm workers.

Slave raiders reportedly prey on vulnerable people who use Libya’s coast to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, a route that has been described by experts as the deadliest route on earth.

The North African country has for years been the gateway for Africans who are trying to get to Europe by sea, with more than 150,000 estimated to have crossed it within the last three years.

But the Foreign Affairs Ministry said it went to the aid of the undocumented detainees following disturbing reports of some Ghanaians being sold off as slaves in Libya.

Ms Ayorkor Botchwey said the Ghana Mission in Malta with concurrent accreditation for Libya paid a consular visit to the three detention centres; Tajoora, Trek Al Sika and Trek Malta to gather first-hand information.

“It is worthy to note that there is a sizable population of Ghanaians who live and work in Libya who on occasion approach the consulate for the renewal of their passports to facilitate their continuous stay in the country and for their travels," she said.

According to her, the fluctuating number of migrant foreign nationals due to the fact that Libya is a transit country makes it difficult to ascertain given the conflict in that country.

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