Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Cote d'Ivoire arrests five Ghanaians

Security forces loyal to Cote d'Ivoire's would-be president Alassane Ouattara arrested five Ghanaians on 31st December on suspicion of being mercenaries for rival Laurent Gbagbo, according to press reports.

The suspects, who include Johnson Agbeko, Atsu Agbeko, Kobina Agbeko, Awana and Abdulai, are in custody in the Ivorian town of Boake.

Deputy Information Minister James Agyenim Boateng confirmed the arrest to reporters, but denies that the men are mercenaries. He told AFP, “ We are worried by the situation in Ivory Coast because the five Ghanaians who have been arrested are artisans, masons, working in Ivory Coast, and not mercenaries…Ghana has 500 troops in Ivory Coast protecting the hotel in which Alassane Ouattara is living. Why then should the alleged Ghanaian mercenaries go there to do anything negative?”

He said that the families of the five men had been informed of their arrest while Ghana's mission in Abidjan was working to secure their release. It was important for Ghanaians to remain calm, he said, and promised that the government would do everything in its power to ensure the safety of Ghanaian citizens living and working in the neighbouring country.

For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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