A twenty-eight-year-old West African man who said that he was escaping tribal wars there when he entered Guyana illegally to join a ‘refugee camp’ here, was ordered to be deported back to West Africa yesterday when he appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court.
Komlangan Komlan of Togo, West Africa pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal entry into Guyana.
Komlan entered Guyana illegally on March 13 by sea at Springlands, Corentyne River without presenting himself to an immigration officer.
Komlan, who spoke more French than English, told the magistrate that he had been travelling for one month from Togo in West Africa to Guyana since his tribe is currently at war and many people are being killed. He said that because of the lengthy voyage, he had gotten sick and the captain of the boat had instructed him, while they were passing through French Guiana, “to go to a refugee camp in Guyana”.
The magistrate then informed him that there were no refugee camps in Guyana, “maybe some other type of camp”.
According to a BBC report, thousands of Togolese who had fled from Togo to Benin, since the violence of the 2005 elections, where the credibility of the parliamentary elections and improvement in human rights were being questioned, are still living there.
Komlan then stated that his wife and children are currently living in a refugee camp in Benin, West Africa.
He said that he had lost his father two years ago because of the tribal wars but his mother was still alive.
When asked by the magistrate how he had survived the long voyage, he stated, “de boat man de gimme macaroni and some sort ah Italy bread fuh eat.”
He then informed the court that he had no money and if he had to be sent back to West Africa, he was willing to go to the refugee camp in Benin to see his wife and children but he would not under any circumstance go back to Togo.
The magistrate subsequently ordered that he be deported to Benin.