Ghanaians, others flee Cote d’Ivoire

Ghanaians in Cote d’Ivoire and some Ivorians have begun crossing in large numbers into Ghana along Ghana’s western border as fears of an outbreak of civil conflict loom in Cote d’Ivoire.

The government of Ghana, with the support of Intercity STC Coaches Limited, has put in place a contingency plan to evacuate an estimated one million Ghanaians resident in Cote d’Ivoire who wish to return home.

Even before the Ghana Embassy in Abidjan rolls out the contingency plan, reports say the terminal of the transport company in Treichville, Abidjan, is being inundated daily with anxious passengers bound for Ghana.

Under the contingency plan, the Treichville bus terminal of Intercity STC will be used as the rallying point for the evacuation of Ghanaians back home.

As political tension in Cote d’Ivoire began rising following rival claims of electoral victory by incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and opposition leader Alassane Ouatarra, many Ghanaians and Ivorians began leaving that country for Ghana.

Consequently, Intercity STC has increased its daily Abidjan–Accra schedule from one trip to two in order to meet the high patronage.

The number of trips increased to three on Sunday, Boxing Day, as many more people left Cote d’Ivoire, the Business Development, Marketing and PR Manager of Intercity STC, Gabriella D. Tetteh, told the Daily Graphic yesterday.

She said following the increased patronage of the Abidjan–Accra service, the Intercity STC Station Manager in Abidjan had requested for more coaches on that route to transport more passengers.

She, however, indicated that the Accra–Abidjan schedule had remained normal.

Under the government’s contingency plan, the Ghana Embassy in Abidjan is to liaise with Intercity STC for the immediate evacuation of Ghanaians back home as more chaotic situations are reported in that country.

Already, officials of the Ghana Embassy and Intercity STC in Abidjan are reported to have held preliminary meetings to discuss the evacuation exercise.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni, Ghana’s Mission in Abidjan was contacting the leadership of Ghanaian communities in Cote d’Ivoire to arrange for the evacuation exercise.

He told reporters that the mission was on top of the situation, adding, “I can assure you that we are firmly on the ground and there is no cause for alarm.”
Source: Daily Graphic

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