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21.07.2005 General News

Sudanese asylum seekers riot

GNA
Sudanese asylum seekers riot
Accra, July 21, GNA - About 10 Sudanese asylum seekers being screened at the Usher Fort in Accra on Thursday attacked and wounded an official of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and a Policeman on duty at the Prison.
Mr Peter Asomani, the NADMO Official, who is currently on admission at the 37 Military Hospital, sustained serious injury on his head and arm, a medical officer of the Hospital told GNA.
The Police Officer is at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. Inspector Kweku Dompre of Regional Public Relations Unit of Police Service said the incident occurred when a Police Sergeant on guard duty in the early hours of Thursday stopped some of the asylum seekers, who claimed they were sending one of their friends to hospital, from coming out.
The Police Sergeant suspected their excuse was not genuine since earlier in the day, eight of the asylum seekers had been taken to the 37 Military Hospital, as part of the normal drill of the NADMO to treat the sick.
This did not go down well with the group, who thought one of their friends was manhandled by the Police Officer. They returned to their tents to call about 10 of their friends who, armed with firewood, attacked the Policeman and the NADMO Official. The asylum seekers also ended up destroying valuable items at the reception.
About 200 residents in the James Town vicinity, who saw the incident at the reception were incensed and rushed to the Fort to confront the Sudanese. They threw stones over the walls of the Fort and brought traffic on the old Winneba Road to a halt.
The James town Police, therefore, called for re-enforcement to control the situation.
Inspector Dompre said two of the Sudanese asylum seekers, who attacked the Police personnel, have been arrested and were in Police custody at the James Town Police Station.
"Even though it has been a normal procedure to let the Sudanese go out with permission, Police Officers on duty are worried about the harmful drugs like Indian hemp that they bring back to the Fort." By 1300 hours, Inspector Dompre reported that the situation had been brought under control.
An Official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees told GNA that the cases of about 75 per cent of asylum seekers from Sudanese had been determined.
The Official said those who have been passed, as refugees would be given the status to stay.
"All over the world the process to determine the status of such asylum seekers takes a long time," the Official said. Many of the residents at James Town, who spoke to GNA, expressed concern about the behaviour of the Sudanese when they came out of the Fort.
Some of the Sudanese at the Fort were worried about the high level of restriction imposed on them by the authorities. "We should be allowed to move freely as refugees, after all we are not prisoners to be kept in this environment," one of the Sudanese said.


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