News24

Togo holding 150 Sri Lanka refugees

2012-02-03 11:29

Lome - An official in Togo says authorities are holding more than 150 Sri Lankan refugees who entered the West African nation en route to Canada.

Lieutenant Colonel Yark Damehane said on Thursday most of the group arrived in Togo in 2011 and overstayed their one-week tourist visas. He said he suspected the group was abandoned by human traffickers who promised to take them to Canada. He added that many of the Sri Lankans were ethnic Tamils who say they were fleeing fighting and detentions.

He said the refugees say they travelled by ship to India, then to Ethiopia before flying to Togo.

Foreign governments and human rights groups have heavily criticised Sri Lanka's human rights record, especially during the final stages of the civil war that ended with the defeat of the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.