A&B Observer- The Antigua and Barbuda government has apparently backpedalled on an agreement for Cameroonians rescued in the March 28 boat disaster to be returned from St Kitts.
This is according to a statement from the Ministry of National Security in the neighbouring island.
The St Kitts authorities claim that after initially agreeing to accept the 14 Cameroonian migrants – who had departed Antigua and were en route to St Thomas when their fishing vessel capsized – Antigua and Barbuda has since rescinded the offer.
“The government of St Kitts and Nevis continues to pursue workable and diplomatic solutions as it is duty-bound so to do,” the statement added.
The statement issued Thursday morning also revealed that five of the 14 people rescued from the boat remain at large after escaping from a detention facility outside Basseterre where they were being held.
The statement noted that nine Cameroonians had absconded from the community centre but that four had since been found.
Those still at large have been identified as Carl Yungho, Nicolas Santana Areche, Ayanga Foe Bernard, Nelson Mforghan, and Njupickeh Valentine Pechokiah.
Three bodies were plucked from the water after last month’s disaster. Around a dozen more are missing and presumed dead.
The migrants were among hundreds of Cameroonians fleeing conflict back home who arrived in Antigua late last year on charter flights from Nigeria.
Local authorities have yet to comment on the disappearance of the West Africans that were in custody in St Kitts, or the announcement from the authorities there that Antigua and Barbuda has backtracked on its earlier pledge to allow them back here.
The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst said he was not aware that any had escaped detention in St Kitts when asked for an update during Thursday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.
Calls to the Prime Minister and the National Security Minister went unanswered up to news time