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asphalted roads where small villages have been replaced by cities.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”.