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26.11.2008 International

Government urged to rescue Ghanaians in Cameroonian cells


Government has been urged to take urgent steps to rescue eleven Ghanaians reported to be languishing in police cells in Duala, Cameroon, for not possessing resident permits.

The eleven are among other foreign nationals who set-off from Nigeria to Gabon about three months ago when their canoe capsized at the southern coast of Cameroon.

They were rescued by personnel of the Cameroonian Navy and transported to Duala.

Mr Kojo Asamoah Gyimah, a 28-year-old Ghanaian Marine Engineer in Cameroon who arrived in the country last week, narrated the ordeal the Ghanaians were going through to the Ghana News Agency in Takoradi on Tuesday.

He said the stranded Ghanaians made their first appearance in court last Friday and would re-appear tomorrow Wednesday November 26, 2008 to know their fate.

Mr Gyimah said other nationals involved in the accident have already been rescued by their respective countries' missions in Cameroon. But Ghana has no mission in that country.

He said because his father, Mr Kwame Gyimah, a building contractor is the head of the Ghanaian community in Duala, the eleven Ghanaians were brought to their house where they had catered for them for past three months.

Mr Gyimah said sometime last week, his father travelled to Nigeria and during his absence the Cameroonian authorities came to their house and took the Ghanaians away to a welfare centre.

He said at the centre, they were accused of planning to escape so they were arrested and placed in police custody.

He said in Cameroon it was considered a very serious offence for not possessing resident permit and the penalty is six months jail sentence if found guilty.

Mr Gyimah also indicated that many Ghanaians were currently in jail in that country for similar offences.