- A Ghanaian registered ship which was intercepted last week with nearly three hundred would-be migrants from Benin en route Gabon has been escorted out of Gabon’s territorial waters and sent back to Benin.
Reports have said that the ship was boarded on 18 October off Cape Esterias, near Libreville, with a fee of 400,000 CFA francs ($917) each for adults and 300,000 CFA francs each for the children aboard the boat.
According to a Defence Ministry’s spokesperson, the identification of the passengers have been complete with only 24 passengers with valid documents. The other 135 Beninois, 21 Burkinabes, 22 Malians and 78 Togolese had no papers, the ministry said.
Reports said the 34 minor’s were turned to the Red Cross and the UN Children’s Fund, while two pregnant women were allowed to join their husbands in Libreville.
After seizing the vessel, the defense ministry spokesperson expressed a concern of the growing illegal migrants in Gabon, saying the illegal network aimed at robbing poor citizens money should be dismantled.
An oil-producing country which is potentially rich in spite of the economic crisis, Gabon attracts a large number of illegal labourers, though there are no official statistics on the subject.
Gabon is one of West Africa's more stable countries. Since independence from France in 1960 Gabon has had just two presidents. Its late leader, President Omar Bongo, was in power for over four decades and one of his sons, Ali Bongo, has just recently won the election.
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