Finally Ghanaian asylum seeker who lost fingers to frostbite wins case to stay in Canada

Mohammed, 24, said even though he now has to cope without any fingers, he is determined to make a life in Winnipeg.

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Seidu Mohammed play

Seidu Mohammed

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A Ghanaian asylum seeker who lost his fingers to frostbite during a trek to cross the U.S.-Canada border into Manitoba on Christmas Eve has won his case to stay.

"I'm so happy. I don't know what to say. Now I'm home, I'm finally home now," said Seidu Mohammed, who learned Wednesday night that the Immigration and Refugee Board had accepted his claim.

His immigration lawyer, Bashir Khan, indicated that Mohammed cried with joy when he heard the news.

"Oh, he was in tears, he was in tears, he really was. He is overjoyed, ecstatic. I mean it's a life-altering moment for this young man."

Mohammed, 24, said even though he now has to cope without any fingers, he is determined to make a life in Winnipeg.

"This is the city I want to stay in. There are a lot of good people here," he said.

Khan described Mohammed as one who “is inspired by and attracted by Canadian values, that everyone has a contribution to make in society.”

"I expect good things from him," he said.

  play Seidu Mohammed


Mohammed fled Ghana for the United States in 2015 because he feared for his life due to his sexual orientation, but when he arrived in San Diego, he was detained for a year.

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He applied for asylum after his visa ran out but a judge denied his request.

"I ran for my life," Mohammed said.

He and another Ghanaian man, who he met in Minneapolis, decided to flee to Canada. The two of them took a bus to Grand Forks, N.D., then flagged a cab and spent $400 for a ride to a spot near the U.S.-Canada border on Dec. 24.

"There is a big farm around the border and we passed through. It was very difficult because when we stepped in that farm, the snow was [at] our waists," Mohammed said.

He said for at least seven hours, they trudged through snowy fields with the temperature hovering around the –18 C mark, without the wind chill factored in.

They finally came upon Highway 75, near the Emerson, Man., border crossing.

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According to CBC, the two men tried for hours to flag down trucks passing them by on the highway. A truck driver finally stopped and called 911 to get medical help for the men who were disoriented and cold. It is unclear how they managed to cross the border without being stopped.

They were both sent to the hospital for treatment.

Mohammed is one of hundreds of refugees that have crossed the Canada-U.S. border into Manitoba between ports of entry.

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