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20.03.2004 General News

Ghanaians evacuated from Equatorial Guinea

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From Ken Sackey, GNA Special Correspondent, Malabo

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, March 20, GNA - Four hundred and twenty seven Ghanaians and nationals of Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso were on Friday evacuated from Malabo, the Island Capital of Equatorial Guinea, following political insecurity in that country.

The evacuees were transported by boat from the Port of Malabo to the two Ghana Navy vessels - GNS Anzone and GNS Bonsu - anchored off the coast of that country following the refusal of the authorities to allow the vessels to berth at the harbour.

Both vessels left Accra, Ghana on Tuesday, March 16 and took about three and half days to get to Malabo.

On arrival on Friday morning, an Equatorial Guinea Navy boat approached the Ghana Navy vessels and told them that they could not berth.

The Captain of GNS ANZONE, the Flagship of the Ghana Navy, Naval Captain Godson Zowonoo contacted the Ghanaian Consular in Equatorial Guinea, Mr Dominic Aboagye, who said the Ghanaians would be brought to the ships.

Personnel on both vessels, including Journalists, Health Workers and officers of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), were not allowed to disembark.

Of the large number of evacuees, none of the Ghanaians appeared to be in ill health except for minor cases of headaches, stomachaches and nausea.

The Consular General, who later came on board the GNS ANZONE, told the Media that all Ghanaians, who wanted to leave that country, had been evacuated except those who had permits.

Foreign nationals in that country, who did not have the relevant documents, were asked to leave following an alleged attempted coup-d'etat.

Most of the Ghanaians the GNA spoke to alleged that they were brutalised by that country's Police who tore their passports and other documents.

They also alleged that their properties were looted. There were 16 women and 12 children among the evacuees.

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