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About 107 foreign nationals who entered the country illegally have been arrested by security personnel stationed in the Upper West and Ashanti Regions respectively.
Seventeen Burkinabes, made up of 11 males and seven females were apprehended at Babele in the Upper West, while 90 Beninese and Togolese made up of 68 males and 22 females were arrested in the Ashanti Region.
Speaking to the Ghanaian Times on Sunday, the Upper West Regional Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Immigration Control Officer, (ICO) Ibn Yussif Duranah Abdul-Mumin Seidu explained that the 17 Burkinabes were arrested following a tip-off by some community members.
He said upon receiving the information, the personnel mounted surveillance at all the unapproved routes along the borders in the region.
The 17 persons aged between 20 and 40 and were on board a bus with registration AF-5603-C headed for Wa, the regional capital when they were intercepted by the personnel.
The PRO said the preliminary investigation revealed that the migrants, who were smuggled into the region on a motor tricycle with the help of some residents along the route, were headed for Sunyani in the Bono Region.
He stated that plans were afoot to transport them back to Hamile for the necessary COVID-19 screening and further repatriation to Burkina Faso, adding that, “Due to the influx of the Coronavirus, repatriation exercise would take less time.”
Mr Seidu stated that although they had logistical constraints as a service, they would still carry out their duties as expected and not renege on their efforts to protect lives of citizens within the country.
He used the opportunity to appeal to residents living around the border areas to assist the service in protecting the region, adding that they should desist from smuggling people into the country as it would put indigenes at risk.
In another development, a joint military and GIS patrol team along the Black Volta River in the Wa West District apprehended some unidentified men at Maase and retrieved some weapons from them, although the suspects fled.
According to ICO Seidu, the items retrieved included a single bar raffle, two AA armour cartridges, a machete and a pack of cigarette, indicating that the suspects upon sighting the personnel dived into the river and fled to Burkina Faso after swimming across the river.
He said the service would conduct further investigation into the suspects and unravel their mission at the venue, adding that the patrols would continue unabated to ensure the borders were secured.
However, those arrested in the Ashanti Region were being kept in isolation at the Atonsu Agogo Hospital.
They were apprehended in an operation led by Staff Sergeant Asamoah Isaac and other military personnel from the headquarters of the Central Command of the Ghana Armed Forces attached to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly for the lockdown exercise.