Ghanaians flee Libyan attacks

Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi

Monday, 9 October, 2000

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Hundreds more black African migrant workers have fled Libya following weeks of violent attacks.

The latest exodus of 200 Ghanaians on board a special Ghana Airways flight was accompanied by President Jerry Rawlings.

More than 100 black Africans have been killed in the attacks, which were reportedly sparked off by a dispute between Nigerian and Libyan drugs gangs.

Those targeted by the violence have included black Africans from Chad, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan.

State television coverage of the visit by President Rawlings included scenes of him addressing Ghanaians at a makeshift camp in Libya.

President Rawlings flew home with Ghanaian deportees

Several of the Ghanaian deportees, who were flown in on a special national airline flight, were injured and taken straight to hospital, while the rest were taken by bus to their various home regions.

Some of the deportees said they had suffered beatings, while others said they had been robbed or had their homes burned down.

A Ghanaian minister, Daniel Ohene Agyekum, says the government is speeding up the evacuation of about 5,000 of its citizens who are reported to be living in unhygienic conditions at a camp outside the capital, Tripoli.

About 3,000 Sudanese workers are also fleeing Libya. The first of the evacuees began returning home at the weekend.

Gaddafi is said to have offered compensation

Sudan's As-Sahafi Ad-Dawli daily newspaper quoted returnees as saying many Sudanese were killed or displaced in attacks in the towns of Zawiya and Zahrah, west of Tripoli.

Nearly 4,000 Nigerians have returned to Lagos since last Wednesday. Another 6,000 are to be flown back in the coming days.

Some returnees said that Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi had given African governments money to compensate those being deported.

"We were told in Libya that Gaddafi had approved $20m to compensate us," said deportee Benjamin Omorodi

" Where is the money?"

In recent years, Mr Gaddafi has sought to win African support and has eased immigration rules.

This has caused the black African migrant worker population to swell to about one million among a population of six million Libyan Arabs.

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