Friday, February 24, 2017
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Two Ghanaians Lose Their Fingers While Crossing Canada-US Border Illegally. (Photos)

Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal crossed the Canada-US border illegally after being denied refugee status in the US. But the two Ghanaians, who walked miles across snow-covered fields in frigid temperatures, lost fingers and parts of their ears to frostbite during the journey.

Read according to BBC

It was a cold Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal could barely comprehend. On Christmas Eve, they found themselves struggling through a waist-deep field of snow in a rash night-time bid to sneak across the Canada-US border.

The two men had met just few hours before at a Minneapolis bus station and both faced deportation back to Ghana after being denied refugee status in the US. They had heard through a network of other refugees and African expats that if they could get into Canada, they had a second shot at asylum in the north.

The path was straightforward: find a ride to the border from Minneapolis, MN or Grand Forks, ND, avoid patrols until you reach Canadian soil, and then turn yourself into Canadian authorities as an asylum seeker.

Iyal and Mohammed decided to make the trek together, and paid US$200 each to a cab driver who dropped them near the international boundary. They kept to the road until they neared the border.


Soon they had lost their gloves in the snow. The wind stole Mohammed’s baseball cap.

By the time they reached Highway 75 in Manitoba, their hands had frozen into claws. They could not reach the phones in their pockets to dial 9-1-1 as planned. Mohammed’s eyes had frozen shut.

The only vehicles on the road before dawn on Christmas were transport trucks ferrying cargo between the US and Canada. Many passed, flashing their high beams at the two before blowing by, until one stopped to give them assistance.

They have been receiving treatment at a specialised burn unit in a Winnipeg hospital since that 10-hour journey. Both had most of their fingers amputated due to the severe frostbite.

Iyal says nurses had to chip away at the snow and ice between Mohammed’s fingers.

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