Canada: Refugee Who Lost Fingers To Frostbite Allowed To Stay

Razak Iyal, a refugee who lost all of his fingers to frostbite as he attempted to enter the country walking, has been allowed to stay in Canada. Iyal’s case had been delayed but on Tuesday, he received the news that he would be able to stay. Iyal was one of two refugees who walked across the US – Canada border on December. During the attempt, he lost his fingers and toes to frostbite.

Iyal and his friend, Seidu Mohammed, lived in the United States but decided to walk to Canada as they feared they would be deported. Iyal and Mohammed, who are from Ghana, walked to Manitoba.

Mohammed was told in May he would be allowed to stay in Canada. He was given refugee protection but Iyal’s case, which was scheduled for March, was delayed. He received the news that he would be allowed to stay on Tuesday. Mohammed was happy to hear that his friend was also allowed to stay in Canada.

Iyal spoke to CBC about his situation and said that the delay had him worried. He had to wait nearly three more months to find out if he would be allowed to stay in Canada. Iyal and Mohammed escaped Ghana for a number of reasons.


Iyal said on Tuesday that he feared for his life over a dispute with his own siblings. The dispute was not the only reason he decided to leave. He says the country’s media falsely identified him as a gay man. Mohammed is bisexual and the media identified him as a gay man because he is friends with him. The two moved to the United States but feared that they would be deported. They decided to walk into Canada but the journey during a cold time of the year led to frostbite. The two refugees were lucky to have survived as some who have attempted to do the same have lost their lives. Last month, a Ghanaian woman was found dead near the US – Canada border. Her visa had expired and she was reportedly planning to go to Toronto. Her body was found less than a mile from Canada.

Iyal says he is happy because if he goes back to his country, he might lose his life. He says he can still do a lot of things that people who have fingers can do. His case was reportedly delayed for administrative reasons but yesterday, he received the good news that he would be allowed to stay.