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12.04.2007 General News

13 stowaways stowed back to Ghana

By myjoyonline

Thirteen Ghanaian stowaways, who were jailed in Mozambique, have returned home healthily, but under heavy security escorts.

They returned at noon of Wednesday aboard a Kenya Airways flight from South Africa, where Ghana's High Commission had processed travel certificates for them.

A Deputy Superintendent at the Fraud Section of the Ghana Immigration Service, Mr Daniel Tagoe, told the Daily Graphic at the Kotoka International Airport that one of the stowaways was a Togolese and would be deported immediately.

The remaining 12 have since returned to their various destina¬tions at the time the Daily Graphic team got to the airport.

Mr Tagoe explained that the vessel on which they travelled had berthed at Mozambique but they had to be transported to South Africa to enable their travel documents to be processed, since they had no passports.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its Mission in Zimbabwe, secured the release of the Ghanaians, who were alleged to have been jailed after they were deported from China five months ago.

The Chinese authorities were said to have put the Ghanaians aboard a vessel bound for Cote d'Ivoire through Mozambique.

In Maputo, the Ghanaians were handed over to an agency, Jeno, for their onward transfer to Cote d'Ivoire, from where they had stowed away, but the agency rather handed them over to the Mozambican security authorities.

Mr Tagoe said the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) bore their travel expenses from Accra to their final destinations.

Jeno is, however, said to have paid their air fares from South Africa. But the deportees claimed in an earlier telephone interview that Jeno seized their items and $2,000 each they were given by the Chinese authorities to facilitate their return home.

Meanwhile, families of the 13 deported stowaways from China have commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the quick response to their call for help for their relatives who languished in Mozambican jail.

A Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Akwesi Osei-Adjei, said the ministry moved to secure the release of the Ghanaians immediately after the Daily Graphic carried the story in its April 5, 2007 edition.

Credit: Daily Graphic