The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has said it is taking steps to secure the release of some Ghanaians stranded in a refugee camp in Spain.
In a statement read on behalf of Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, to Parliament, Mohammad Habib Tijani, Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs & Regional integration, and MP for Yendi, said Ghana’s Mission in Spain had visited the affected persons who were being held as illegal immigrants, but were not being subjected to any inhumane treatment.
The statement indicated that the Ministry had been working closely with institutions such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to evacuate Ghanaian nationals back home whenever the need arises.
The 29 Ghanaians were among some 629 illegal African migrants who were left stranded on the Mediterranean Sea after Italian and Maltese authorities rejected them.
The African migrants were rescued by the vessel Aquarius, operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Franco-German charity SOS Mediterranee, as they journeyed on rubber inflated dinghies on the sea to Europe for greener pastures.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament who visited Valencia, Spain, where the rescued immigrants were given refuge by the Spanish authorities after Italy and Malta turned them away, said, in his interaction with the Ghanaians, they recounted harrowing accounts of their journey from Techiman in Ghana to Niger, then to Libya across the 9,200,000 square kilometre Sahara Desert, before paying for their passage on board the dinghies from Libya to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.
In a statement, the North Tongu lawmaker said: “They spoke to me about how extremely lucky they felt to have survived considering that majority of those they began the journey with lost their lives.
“According to them, the first casualties occurred between Niger and Libya at the hands of militias and those who could not withstand the harsh desert conditions. Another round of deaths were recorded in Libya at the hands of notorious gang leaders while a final batch perished at sea when their dinghies capsized which as they narrate is quite a common spectacle.”
Mr Ablakwa tasked the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Information Services Department to intensify education on the dangers of embarking on such voyage for greener pastures in Europe.