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Martin McGuinness welcomes return of Cameroonian family to Ireland

6 June, 2007

Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness has welcomed the news that a Cameroonian family have been released from a detention centre in London and are now returning to South Belfast.

Lordorice Djountso arrived in Belfast in August 2005. Already pregnant, her daughter Imelda was born here in early 2006. She fled from her home in Cameroon following her brutal rape and the murder of her brothers as part of a bitter dispute with a powerful local chief. She was forced to leave her partner behind, who was also attacked and has subsequently disappeared.

Following an unsuccessful claim for asylum, Lordorice and her daughter were picked up by Immigration Officers and were imprisoned in detention for two months awaiting deportation.

He said,

"Yesterday afternoon, supporters of Lordorice and Imelda gathered with the pair's lawyer in court, requesting bail to allow them to finally return home. After presenting evidence, setting conditions and pledging a joint surety of £6500, I welcome the news that the judge ruled in favour and so Lordorice and Imelda are coming home to the six counties.

"This has been a nightmare case for Ms Djountso and her 18 month daughter. Sinn Féin campaigned tirelessly on this matter and made several representations to Liam Byrne, the direct rule Immigration minister. Sinn Féin have invited Lordorice to Stormont to personally welcome her to her chosen home in Ireland.

"Sinn Féin is wholly committed to the rights for all our citizens and my party opposes the use of draconian detention centres for anyone in contravention of international human rights laws.

"However, I am mindful that the battle is not yet over - a new removal date has been set for 22nd June. This is nonetheless a very significant victory considering the nightmarish conditions of the detention centres which was faced by our two new citizens and she is now home where she belongs." Deireadh/Ends

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