05.04.2005 General News

Senegal is not transit haven to Europe

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From Beatrice Akua Asamani, GNA Special Correspondent, Dakar
Dakar, April 5, GNA - Mr Fred Amartey Laryea, Ghana's Ambassador to Senegal, has cautioned Ghanaians, particularly the youth, not to fall prey to fake immigration agents who promise to send them to Europe through Senegal.
In an interview with the GNA in Dakar, Mr Laryea noted that a lot of Ghanaian youth, mostly seamen from the Western Region, had been lured by agents into Senegal with the promise of transporting them to various destinations in Europe.
However, most of these people have now been left stranded in Senegal thereby resorting to doing menial jobs to survive. "They are unemployed and live degrading lives of misery," he noted. Some of the victims told the GNA that they were made to believe that Senegal was a safe tran sit point to Europe from where they could even swim across to Europe.
Their journeys to Senegal, which were made through Burkina Faso or Aflao to Mali, where they continued on a three-hour rail trip, were tormenting, they said.
Some of the victims expressed the desire to return home because of frequent checks from Senegalese immigration officers but said they could not afford the fare.
However, Ghanaians who secured valid travel documents and employment before entering Senegal said they were enjoying their stay there because the socio-economic conditions there were flourishing. A good number of them work in the International Community, whereas others are business people, skilled artisans and fishermen. Mr David Dzakpasu, a resident for 18 years who owns a fishing gear trading company, said those who lived positive lives had found their stay enjoyable.
Senegal, a Franco-African country, located on the extreme west of Africa, is bordered by The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Mauritania. It takes about three hours by air to travel from Accra to Dakar, the capital.
Meanwhile, Ghana has reopened its diplomatic mission in Dakar after decades of closure because of economic concerns.

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