General News Fri, 6 Oct 2000

Talks over evacuees begin

GHANAIAN and Libyan officials began discussions in Tripoli on Wednesday on arrangements for the evacuation of hundreds of Ghanaians gathered in camps in Libya, following recent attacks on other African nationalities in that country.

The “street gang fights” which initially targeted Nigeriens, unfortunately escalated and became widespread, affecting Ghanaians, Nigerians, Chadians and Sudanese too, among others.

Ghana’s delegation to the discussions, led by Mr Kofi Totobi Quakyi, Minister Responsible for National Security, include Mr Kofi Attoh, Member of Parliament; Mr Yaw Akrasi Sarpong, National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC); and Mr S. K. Parker-Allotey of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The rest are Mr Owusu Achaw, Deputy Director of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO); Lt. Col. Emmanuel Nyamekye Opoku of the Ministry of Defence; and Mr Hodari Okai, Deputy Director of Immigration Service.

On the Libyan side were officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior, the Immigration Service and Security Agencies.

Briefing the delegation prior to the discussions, Ghana’s Ambassador to Libya, Alhaji B. A. Fuseini said initially, the Libyans attacked Nigerians living in the “Vietnam” area of Tripoli and started ejecting them from their hired residences for their involvement in drug trafficking and organised prostitution.

But the Nigerians organised themselves and demonstrated against the attacks on September 1, the anniversary date of the Great Libyan Jamahiriya Revolution.

This incensed the Libyans who went on the rampage against anyone perceived to be black African, ejecting them from their homes, destroying their property and beating them, resulting in serious injuries to most of them.

Ambassador Fuseini said frightened for their safety, the victims sought refuge on the compounds of their respective missions with their belongings and requested to be evacuated home.

He said the Libyan authorities later appealed to its citizens to refrain from the attacks and afterwards moved the victims to various camp sites, providing them with tents, blankets and food till they could be evacuated.

Nigeria started evacuating its estimated 4000 citizens on Monday, October 2, with assistance from Libya. Those from Chad, The Sudan and Niger will be sent to their borders by road.

Ambassador Fuseini said as at now, a total of 2,453 Ghanaians have been listed at four camps, which also contain other African nationalities.

Source: GNA