Refugees Will Lose Fingers After Christmas Eve Flight to Canada

They trudged through waist-deep snow for up to 10 hours
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2017 3:54 PM CST
Refugees Will Lose Fingers After Christmas Eve Flight to Canada
Stock image   (Getty Images/AngiePhotos)

A bisexual man who feared for his life in Ghana will lose his fingers and a toe after walking hours through snow and freezing weather on Christmas Eve toward what he hoped would be refuge in Canada, the Canadian Press reports. According to CBC, 24-year-old Seidu Mohammed arrived in the US in 2015 but was denied asylum and detained for a year. Upon his release and facing deportation, Mohammed and another Ghanaian man headed for North Dakota and the Canadian border. They walked for up to 10 hours through waist-deep snow and below-zero temperatures. They lost their hats and mittens, and their arms and feet froze, but they somehow made it into Canada. After multiple tries, they flagged down a trucker who called 911.

The two men have been hospitalized since. CTV News reports both will have their fingers amputated due to severe frostbite, but Mohammed will also lose a toe and possibly his hands and arms. Mohammed can't sleep from the pain and doesn't know what he's going to do. But he also knows he made the right choice. "The journey was worth it," he tells CBC. "To go back, I lose my life." The men have applied for refugee status in Canada, and Mohammed hopes to stay and work. The odds he's allowed to do so aren't good. An agreement between Canada and the US states that refugees can only apply for asylum in the first country they enter—in Mohammed's case, the US. (With $1.5 million, the "Schindler" of Canada has saved 200 refugees.)

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