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Family appeals for release of Palestinian businessman disappeared in Ghana

March 19, 2019 at 1:46 pm

The family of a Palestinian businessman has appealed to Ghanaian authorities to investigate the whereabouts of their son, who disappeared upon arriving in the capital city Accra three months ago, fearing he has been kidnapped by foreign intelligence forces.

Mahran Baajour was last seen on 13 December 2018 when he flew from his home in Lebanon to Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport to visit a friend and explore business opportunities in the country.

“He was detained at the airport and when the family asked about his whereabouts, the reply was that he wasn’t in their custody,” his brother Jehad Baajour told reporters.

One of Mahran’s brothers who lives in Denmark subsequently flew to Ghana in a bid to locate him, but Ghanaian intelligence services again denied he was in the country.

“We managed to find a driver and another individual who were both arrested with my brother and they gave their testimonies to the court in Ghana. However, the procedures are still ongoing,” Jehad Baajour added.

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The 39-year-old Palestinian is believed to have been arrested by the Bureau of National Intelligence; calls for agency representatives to appear in court have been ignored according to the Ghanaian Democrat newspaper.

Mahran Baajour, Palestinian businessman who has disappared in Ghana [File photo]

There is also confusion as to why Baajour was arrested; his friends have testified that they were interrogated by a white man, prompting suspicion of state involvement in a rendition on behalf of a foreign government.

According to Ghana’s MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, the involvement of security services in his disappearance would be a slap in the face of Ghana’s support for the Palestinian cause.

“Speaking to sources in the country, there are clear indications he was abducted. That would be very unfortunate if this had happened with the knowledge of state security. Given our championing the rights of Palestinians, this would be in contradiction for everything we have stood for,” Mubarak told MEMO.

“As a country, we cannot be entertaining rogue behaviour; others are notorious for abducting Palestinians, it’s an area we should not be venturing into.”

Ghana has maintained a consistent position on the Israel-Palestine issue for the past several decades; it hosts a Palestinian embassy and has voted in favour of Palestinian issues at the UN. However, Israel is heavily involved in security services, providing the country with military technology and equipment.

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“If [an Israeli rendition] is the case, I’m sure [it] will have happened at the blindside of government, but with the illicit [activities] of some security officials,” Mubarak added, confirming that he has spoken to the Minister of Defence about this issue, which has assured him that it was not involved.

Yesterday, in Beirut, Baajour’s family appealed for the authorities to investigate his disappearance: “We, the family of Mahran and his friends, hold the Government of the State of Ghana directly responsible for the disappearance of Mahran,” they said in a statement.