Libya & Ghana: 10 000 Ghanaian nationals in Libya, less than 1,000 yet to arrive

By Peterking Quaye – Thousands of stranded Ghanaians in Libya say they are prepared to fund the cost of transporting  them back home, if government is finding difficulties in raising funds. There are an estimated 10,000  Ghanaian nationals in Libya and government are hoping to evacuate as many as possible in the coming days.

These desperate Ghanaians say their lives might soon end if government does not accelerate the process in evacuating them.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni

Speaking to Shout-Africa correspondent from Tripoli, the Ghanaians say they have tried all means to come home but to no avail as there seem to be no life line for them.“Please tell the government to come for us even if it means paying for the fare. Currently we have no food nor water to drink, we are currently lodging under stones as we cannot stay at home because blacks are now been killed” a stranded Ghanaian frantically .

55 Ghanaians were successfully evacuated from Libya by a Turkish company. The Ghanaians say they might die out of hunger or might be killed as black Africans have now become endangered species in that country.

Meanwhile the Deputy Minister of Information Mohammed Baba Jamal says government will do its best to evacuate its citizens back home.Mr. Jamal announced the following emergency lines for Ghanaian nationals to call for assistance.0299-005097 and 0299-005101.

However, some stranded Ghanaians in Libya who have been calling these emergency call centres set up to offer assistance say the numbers do not go through. They said even if the calls go through; the officers in charge were not receptive.

In a related development the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni has deplored the manner in which the Libyan crisis is complicating evacuation efforts. The first batch of Ghanaians arrived from Libya on Saturday and the Minister revealed that second batches of about 60 Ghanaians are expected in the country tomorrow.

Speaking on a top radio program in Accra, the Foreign Minister indicated that the Libyan crises had made it difficult for the Ghana embassy to establish contacts with Ghanaians there. According to him, communication in the troubled country had been cut off while many Ghanaians there were believed to be hiding from attacks which stems from rumours that sub-Saharan Africans had been employed as mercenaries by Libyan leader Muammar  Al-Gaddafi.

“Indeed our ambassador in Libya has told us that he applied to the Libyan authorities to designate an  Assembling point where Ghanaians could congregate and also to provide some kind of escort and this has not been forthcoming. That clearly again has complicated the whole process of mobilizing and operationalising the evacuation plan,” he lamented.

He said due to the complication, the Ghanaians who have been thus far identified are those found on the Libya-Egypt border.Alhaji Mumuni revealed that the Ghana embassy in Libya had closed due to the crises, hinting that should the situation there reach a critical point, the “essential staff” of the Foreign Mission will be moved to nearby Malta to continue their work while the other staff will be evacuated to Ghana. As part of government’s efforts, he said a settlement and rehabilitation centre would be established in Ghana to cater for the returnees in need of assistance such as medical treatment. The Minister said an estimated 10,000 Ghanaians are believed to living in Libya, though according to him, the Ghanaian Foreign Mission in Libya had pegged that number at 4,000.

As part of evacuation plans, Ghanaians in Libya would travel by sea from the Tripoli and Benghazi ports, the Minister said. He explained that the mode of transport by sea has become necessary because airlines are facing some difficulty in attaining clearance to land in Libya.