To date, the “Overland 12” expedition has covered 11,500 Km; this amount equates to a quarter of the total African mission distance. Two new countries have now been crossed: the Ivory Coast Republic and Ghana.
During this stage of the expedition it was impossible for Beppe Simonato of Iveco to forget the moment when a Kalashnikov rifle was aimed at him. After passing the Ivory Coast border, the caravan was apprehended and the team stopped. Under the threat of weapons, the entire crew and vehicles became hostage to a group of rebels. Only after release negotiations by Beppe Tenti, which took until the following day to agree, did the “Overland 12” mission continue its march onwards.
From 2002 to 2004 the Ivory Coast, an ex-French colony since 1960, has been the subject of an intense civil war, which until today has not afforded any stability to the Government. Internal tension has forced groups of rebels to take extreme action, like that experienced by the “Overland 12” crew, to gain awareness on the international stage.
After this traumatic experience and crossing into the Ivory Coast’s capital, Yamoussoukro, the convoy headed towards Ghana travelling over asphalted roads where small villages have been replaced by cities.
In the Ghanese city Kumasi, known world wide for Nobel Peace Prize winner and ex-United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan, the “Overland” crew had the opportunity to participate in an Ashanti celebration. Following the celebration the caravan will continue its journey to the capital Accra, where almost an entire team replacement is planned.
The Team turnover will see a new crew, with identical skills and assignments, lead the orange Iveco vehicles onwards. In spite of the enormous distance travelled, the Iveco vehicles, thanks to their excellent technical specification, were ready to tackle a new phase of the expedition: “Overland 12 – Inside Black Africa”.