|Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey - Foreign Affairs Minister|
A statement from the Ministry said the 168, who were thought to be victims of a torturous slave trade activity in Libya, were rather illegal migrants arrested by the Libyan government.
“Following disturbing reports of African nationals being sold off as slaves in Libya, the Ghana Mission in Malta, with concurrent accreditation from Libya, paid a consular visit to the three detention centers in Tripoli, namely, Tajoora, Trek Al Sika and Trek Mater.
The purpose was to ascertain the veracity of the claims, assess their condition, and offer assistance to those detainees identified as Ghanaians, among many other illegal migrants held at these centers.
It emerged that 168 Ghanaian detainees who were identified, were not part of the slave trade as alleged, but had rather been arrested on illegal immigration charges, and were already being held in detention camps,” the statement said.
The Ministry said it was working together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to get the identified Ghanaians back into the country via a chartered flight from Tripoli.
“The undocumented Ghanaians were immediately issued with the necessary travel documents to facilitate their repatriation to Ghana on a chartered flight, with support from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).”
Although there were no details about their timelines concerning the repatriation exercise, the Ministry assured Ghanaians that it was closely monitoring the situation in that country, and will provide details if need be.
Meanwhile, the Ministry is holding talks with some stakeholders to get a consulate opened in Libya.
The existing consulate had to be closed down during the Libyan crises several months ago.