By Linda Akrasi Kotey
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chris Kpodo, yesterday told Parliament that though his Ministry was aware that some Ghanaians had been arrested and were currently in detention in Libya, for attempting to stowaway to Europe, the actual number was not known to the government of Ghana.
According to him, the Ghana mission in Tripoli had been tasked to establish the exact number of Ghanaians involved, so that it can make the necessary arrangements to facilitate their repatriation home.
Responding to a question in parliament, the Deputy Minister noted that their records indicate that 97 Ghanaians were being held in Tripoli alone, and that they were pursuing the other cities, and as soon as they come to a conclusion, they would get back to the House.
The question was posed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunyani East, Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh, on the efforts the government had made, or was making to secure the release of and airlifting over 640 Ghanaians in detention in Libya, for allegedly attempting to stowaway from Libya to Europe.
Asked whether he was aware that the Ghanaians are being maltreated in detention, Mr. Kpodo replied in the affirmative, adding that they were committed to providing consular services to all their compatriots wherever they are. “If we realise they are being maltreated, we will take the necessary steps.”
Scores of Ghanaians are believed to have died in Libya when a bus they were traveling in was involved in an accident.
The news came from concerned Ghanaians in Libya, who called a local radio station in Accra. According to the report, the accident had claimed the lives of about 100 Ghanaians, and an unspecified number of other African immigrants in that country.
Unconfirmed reports said they were all deportees who were being transported to a site in Seda, which is about eight hours drive from the capital, Tripoli.
Ghana’s mission in Tripoli had not commented on the report.
It would be recalled that Vice President John Mahama was in Libya to appeal to the Leader Muammar Al-Qathafi to have clemency on a Ghanaian in jail in the North African country for attempting to spread Christianity.
The Ghanaian, Daniel Baidoo, is said to have already served the first seven years of his 25-year sentence.
He was jailed in 2001, and was serving his term at the Jedidah Maximum Security Prison. Vice President Mahama made the appeal through a special Libyan envoy, Dr. Al Sayeed from Libya, who called on him in Accra.
Following discussions with the special envoy, Mr. Mahama presented a formal letter appealing for clemency, through the Libyan Embassy in Accra to the Libyan Leader.
Baidoo was arrested at the Garyan Post Office in Libya when he collected a parcel said to be containing Bible and Christian literature in Arabic, which he had ordered from a Christian organisation in the US.