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An International Row is Brewing After Africa’s Disease Response Czar Alleges Racism at Frankfurt Airport

An International Row is Brewing After Africa’s Disease Response Czar Alleges Racism at Frankfurt Airport

Germany’s Federal Police agency has hit back at allegations of racism made by the director of Africa’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention following an encounter at Frankfurt Airport on Saturday.

Dr. Ahmed Ogwell flew into Frankfurt Airport at the invitation of the German government on his way to Berlin to attend the World Health Summit when he was stopped by the Federal Police at the border.

Ogwell took to Twitter to complain of “mistreatment” at the hands of the German authorities and initially threatened to turn straight back around without attending the high-level health conference.

Expressing his frustration at how he was treated by border guards, Ogwell suggested they assumed he was trying to stay in Germany illegally. “It’s time to stay away from non-friendly territories for me,” Ogwell said in a series of tweets.

“Very irritated. I’m done!” Ogwell continued.

But a spokesperson for the Bundespolizei said on Saturday that Ogwell had been subjected to a “standardized entry check” and that the routine questioning only lasted four minutes “despite the uncooperative behavior of the traveler”.

The police spokesperson insisted the encounter and questioning “were carried out lawfully in every respect”.

Germany’s minister of health Professor Karl Lauterbach said in response to media queries that his department had taken care of the situation straight away, but officials were still “clarifying” what exactly happened at Frankfurt Airport.

“Dr Ogwell is a particularly important guest,” Lauterbach said. “An important scientist from Africa. I look forward to meeting him soon.”

Although Dr Ogwell did attend the summit in the end, he didn’t hang around in Germany for long. Early on Monday morning, Ogwell tweeted that he was already back home in Africa following his “immigration misadventure” in Frankfurt.

“A visa often means little when you are carrying an African passport – regular or diplomatic,” Ogwell said in a follow-up tweet. “Very many decent people are mistreated everyday and don’t have the microphone to let the world know – I empathize with ALL of you.”

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