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Guinea-Bissau’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Delfim Da Silva, has resigned over a scandal surrounding the illegal transportation of 74 Syrians.
However, Da Silva’s resignation has yet to be accepted by his government.
His resignation comes after Guinean authorities allegedly forced the airline TAP to fly the Syrian emigrants to Lisbon, despite their passports being fake.
TAP has now cancelled all flights to Guinea-Bissau while a revaluation of security authorities in the country is being carried out.
The passengers have reportedly applied for asylum in Portugal. If approved, they’ll be able to travel freely through most of the EU, under the terms of the Schengen Agreement.
Da Silva has spoken out about what he is calling a “human trafficking” operation.
“We send cocaine to other countries and now we are trafficking human beings,” he said in a statement to the press. “It starts in Morocco. Our diplomatic representation delivers visas without consulting the government … They arrive with Syrian passports, they leave with Turkish passports. It’s a big confusion and I thought that I should get away from this.”
Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, is used by Latin America as a transshipment point to Europe for cocaine.
The Portuguese Foreign Ministry has recommended Portuguese nationals don’t travel to the country.