Ghanaian football fans seek asylum in Brazil

Police in southern Brazil say about 200 Ghanaians who entered Brazil as tourists to watch World Cup games have sought asylum.

Many of these are believed to be part of a government-sponsored delegation, mainly comprising supporters of the ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Noerci da Silva Melo, who heads the Federal Police office in the city of Caxias do Sul said on Thursday that over the past week, 200 Ghanaians have asked for asylum. The Justice Ministry will decide whether to grant their requests.

Melo said the Ghanaians claimed to be Muslims ”fleeing the violent conflicts between different Muslim groups’.

Police estimate that around 1,000 Ghanaians will claim asylum by the end of the tournament.

Ghana’s government has however hit back and said the country has no religious violence. Ghana’s mission in Brazil has been asked to liaise with Brazilian authorities to investigate the matter.

“The basis for this alleged request is completely false as no religious conflict is taking place in Ghana,” said a statement from Deputy Information Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu.