The Ghanaian migrants who just returned from detention in Libya have narrated several shocking and excruciating experiences they had in the North African country. About 127 Ghanaians were rescued from the trending Libya slavery after the government intervened on their behalf and flew them home.
The illegal migrants who were freed from detention centres in Libya arrived in Ghana on Wednesday, November 29. They landed at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra in two flights – Air Libya and Afriqiya Airways. Among the migrants was a woman, a physically challenged man and some children. One of them was also reported to be in a critical condition.
It was reported that the returned Ghanaian migrants were provided with two Metro Mass Transit buses to convey them to Nkrumah Circle from where they will find their way home. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also gave each of the returnees 440 cedis to take care of their transport fares.
Before leaving the airport, the migrant returnees shared with the media, the harrowing experiences they met in the hands of their fellow Africans, including fellow Ghanaians, ranging from various kinds of dehumanising treatments to robbery and murder.
Sold by a Ghanaian!
One of the migrants narrated how he was sold off by his fellow countryman, a Ghanaian.
“What I found myself in Libya, I wouldn’t wish for even my worst enemy, we were sold like bread by our own fellow Ghanaians…”
According to the migrant who spoke to a Starr News correspondent at the airport, they went through very disheartening experiences but were lucky enough to escape and were arrested and detained. He said some people got lost while they went through the desert while others were shot and killed.
People Died, Went Mad Everyday!
Speaking to a Joy News reporter on their arrival at the airport, one of the rescued migrants revealed that many of his fellow migrants never returned. According to him, they were 17 when they left Takoradi but only four of them made it back home; 7 were killed and he doesn’t know the whereabouts of others.
He went ahead to narrate how people either died or went made on a daily basis at the detention centre where about 3,000 illegal migrants were kept in custody.
“…people went mad everyday…people died everyday,” he said.
Every Hospitality Goes with a Beating!
The migrant went on to explain how they were beaten at every turn at the detention centre. According to him, they have not had a bath since they were arrested and before you eat or drink, you will be beaten.
“When you have to eat you are beaten, if you want to drink water you are beaten,” he narrated.
Fed with Salt Water for Six Months!
Another rescued migrant who also spoke to Joy News revealed how he was kept in an uncompleted building for six months. According to him, he was given food only in the morning and served salt water in the afternoon.
Some others revealed how they were robbed even by kids at gun point! The migrants who visibly rues their failed venture, warned everyone never to attempt what they did. According to them, it is far better to remain in Ghana and manage any “small occupation” than going through Libya in search of better life.
The Libya slave trade started making headlines after a footage emerged, showing where African migrants were captured, abused, auctioned and sold off in a modern-day slave market in Libya. Those who escaped being sold off into slavery were detained under very abusive living conditions. It was reported that some of the migrants were sold for as little as $400!
This development since its emergence has sparked off massive outrage and condemnation around the world, with the international bodies such as the United Nations taking the lead in getting to the bottom of the issue.
It was revealed that most of the enslaved or detained illegal migrants are from surrounding African countries such as Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Sudan and Somalia. They were all trying to cross over to Europe in search of greener pastures via the Mediterranean sea enroute Libya.
Just like Ghana have done, the government of African countries who have their citizens detained have come to their rescue, getting them freed from the detention camps and flying them home.
Although earlier reports had it that no Ghanaian was sold in the Libya slavery, it was later revealed by the Information Minister that about three Ghanaians were among those who were auctioned in the African country’s slave market.