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According to Brazilian federal authorities, about 200 fans who traveled from Ghana for the World Cup have requested political asylum in Brazil, and another 1,000 are expected to claim refugee status after the end of the tournament.

The first sign that things were up was when a reported 240 people did not board a government-chartered flight that left Brazil after Ghana's elimination from the tournament. Since then, Ghanaians have made their way to the southern city of Caxias do Sul to claim asylum.


According to the Caxias do Sul chief of police, the Ghanaians said they were Muslims who were "fleeing the violent conflicts between different Muslim groups."

But the BBC says there is very little inter-religious conflict in Ghana. And the choice of Caxias do Sul is no accident:

"This region - Serra Gaucha - is known as an area of full employment. It has became a magnet for foreign workers," federal police chief Noerci da Silva Melo said in Caxias do Sul.

Brazilian law will allow the Ghanaians to begin working legally immediately upon applying for asylum.

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