Around 200 tamil refugees who have fled from Sri Lanka have found themselves stranded in the West African country of Togo, where they are now held by the army, reported the BBC.
The refugees, who include at least 19 women and 11 children, are being detained in an open stadium in the capital of Lome, where they are held under tight security.
It is thought that they travelled by ship to India, then to Ethiopia before flying to Togo, where they were promised to be taken to Ghana and onwards to Canada. But now they are stranded in Togo, after their “agent” vanished, after having paid more than $6,000 each.
One inmate told the BBC,
“Many of us were in Mullivaikaal-where the final phase of the war took place, and if we are deported back, our safety and life will be in jeopardy.”
Many have alleged that they are being forced to return back to Sri Lanka, despite earlier reports that failed refugees face risk of torture and other human rights abuses.
The detainees have also claimed that despite food being supplied by the ICRC, the supplies are both insipid and insufficient. Latest reports indicate that nine people have already returned back to Eastern Sri Lanka from Lome, with another 28 set for departure on the 4th of February.
Similar numbers of Tamil refugees are also thought be stranded in Benin and Ghana.