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Ghanaians among rescued illegal immigrants

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Illegal immigrants, including some Ghanaians have been picked up by Maltese authorities after they used a satellite phone to call for help when the boat they were travelling in ran into trouble at sea.

The 139 illegal immigrants believed to have come from Somalia and Ghana were rescued Monday December 28, 2008.

The migrants including a little over 100 men and 10 pregnant women were rescued by the armed forces of Malta. The Maltese army was alerted by the Italian rescue services in Rome who were initially called by the immigrants. They were found some 80 nautical miles south of the Mediterranean island, according to the armed forces spokesman.

The spokesman said, “we have not had arrivals of illegal immigrants in December for years.”

Despite a stringent detention policy which allows most migrants to be detained for as long as 18 months, Malta has seen a record influx of migrants in 2008.

Most African men and women attempt to reach Europe through the sea, often in makeshift and ill equipped boats. Many fail to make it as their boats drown in stormy weather on the high seas. A few are lucky to be rescued occasionally, while a few still make it to their destinations.

These Africans, some fleeing from war ravaged countries on the continent and others from the economic hardships in their countries make these deadly voyages so often with the hope that when they get to Europe they would find a better life.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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