After surviving the blazing guns of Libyan strongman Mummar Gaddafi, some Ghanaians fleeing the deadly carnage in Libya arrived home only to be arrested by the security agencies.
Information available to DAILY GUIDE indicates that about 18 returnees have been detained by the police upon reaching the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, and distributed to various police stations in the city.
Baba Jamal, a deputy Minister of Information, has confirmed the arrest.
Their offence, it was gathered, is that they were alleged to have embarked on a demonstration in the Libyan capital of Tripoli against the Ghana Embassy and vandalized property.
However, some of the returnees yesterday said the embassy staff allegedly passed false information to the government that those who took part in the demonstration were New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters.
Hussein Swala, 29, and Rafiu Muktar, 26, who arrived on March 12, 2011 on board a Bangladeshi Airline chartered by government to evacuate the stranded Ghanaians, said, “The security detail at the airport has a list of people they are looking for and once you disembark they ask you to stand aside after which you are sent to the police station to be detained.”
They said some of their colleagues had been in detention between three days and one week without any interrogation or charge or court appearance and added that due to congestion inside the Airport Police Station cell, they were being distributed to other stations in the metropolis.
They mentioned Aziz Adam and Abdul Wahab Suleman, 24, as some of the detainees.
The returnee-detainees said, “A lot more are in custody and nobody is saying anything. The police keep tossing you when you make enquiries about their detentions.”
Mohammed Seidu, 45, a resident of Benghazi who escaped earlier, said his brother had been detained for six days, noting “when you visit him, he tells you that nobody is attending to him.”
The two said they slept at Tripoli Airport for more than three weeks before emplaning to Ghana, adding, “It is a precarious situation over there.”
They alleged that the Ghana Embassy officials in Tripoli collected between $40 and $200 from each returnee before allowing them to board the plane.
“We slept on the ground at the airport and the embassy officials would come around clandestinely and put other people on board the planes and as it continued, the Libyan security asked us to demonstrate against the embassy to end the discrimination.
“When you go to the embassy, they will sack you and ask you to go to the airport. You have to pay bribe before you are given a travelling certificate (TC),” they alleged.
They claimed, “Because the government would find out about their deeds, the embassy sent advanced message to the government that those who demonstrated are NPP supporters.”
DAILY GUIDE’s investigation at some of the police stations indicated that some of the detainees had indeed been transferred from Airport Police Station to other facilities.
A source at the Kotobabi Police Station confirmed that some of the detainees had been brought there and said it was the Airport Police that was co-ordinating the arrests.
When reached on telephone, Baba Jamal, a deputy Information Minister, confirmed that some of the returnees had indeed been detained but said he knew about eight people.
He said two were detained about four days ago and six more were arrested on Monday, saying that the detainees were identified by their colleague returnees as those involved in vandalizing the Ghana Embassy in Tripoli.
He said apart from vandalizing the embassy and harassing the staff, the suspects also damaged the windscreen of a Ghana Embassy vehicle, adding, “The offence was committed on Ghana’s soil in Libya.”
Baba Jamal said counter reports from the embassy indicated that the bribery allegation levelled against the staff could not be substantiated.
He said 10, 158 Ghanaians had been evacuated by the government from Libya so far and that there were four more flights to come, adding that if there was a backlog, the government would plan for them.
Meanwhile, media reports indicate that the returnees are appealing to the government to ensure that they receive their belongings from Libya as promised.
The returnees, who are being hosted in the open at the El-Wak Sports stadium, said they had waited for over 2weeks in expectation of receiving their luggage but to no avail.
In an interview with Peace FM, some of the evacuees recounted their experiences since arriving in Ghana, claiming they had not been given food, water or mattresses to sleep on.
Source Daily Guide
Category: Ghanaians Abroad