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UN denounces reported expulsions from Ghana of Burkina asylum seekers

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The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) on Wednesday said it was concerned about reports in Ghana that hundreds of citizens seeking refuge from an insurgency in neighbouring Burkina Faso were being deported.

Burkina Faso is one of several West African countries fighting armed groups that took root in north Mali and have seized ground across the region over the past decade, killing thousands and displacing over six million in the process.

More than 2 million have fled their homes in Burkina Faso alone, where frustrations over growing insecurity spurred two military takeovers last year.

Some, mainly women and children, have sought refuge in north Ghana, where the insurgency has also hit in more recent years.

Twitter user Alhaji Gbangbanku shared video online of dozens of women holding their children, sitting on the ground in a parking lot with buses.

“The repatriation of Fulbes from Burkina Faso is continuing today in several northern Ghana communities,” he wrote, describing it as a “military-led exercise” and a “dangerous development.”

Reuters could not independently verify the videos or the expulsions.

The UNHCR on Wednesday called on Ghana’s government to guarantee access to its territory and asylum to Burkinabes fleeing the violence, and cease reported expulsions.

The agency added in a statement that it was working with Ghanaian authorities to ensure the protection of over 8 000 Burkinabe nationals, and had set up a reception centre in the bordering Upper East Region with a capacity of 4 000 people.

Ghana’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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