168 MIGRANTS RETURN

BY Kebba AF Touray

The third batches of 168 Gambians migrants has been repatriated from Lybia to The Gambia on Thursday 27/04/2017, after their aim of reaching Europe via the perilous and risky ‘back way’ route has been dashed.

The reason for young people undertaking such risky journeys to Europe is to be able to get greener pastures in Europe in order to fend for their families at home. This has been made possible because of the rampant poverty and unemployment that has engulfed this country under the former regime.

Speaking in an interview the PRO of the Gambia Immigration Department, Mr  Ousman  Manneh, explained that the arrival of the third batch of migrants  who were voluntarily repatriated from Lybia  was made possible by the goodwill of the government of the Gambia; that the returnees voluntarily accepted to return home through their own demands made known to the government of the day after being stranded in Lybia for so long. Mr. Manneh further explained that this timely intervention was facilitated and coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interior, The Gambia Immigration Department and the International Organization for Migration. He stated that upon their arrival, they conducted the usual registration and interrogation of the returnees which helped them to update their data base.

He asserted that they also offered counseling to the migrants; that some of the migrants are emotionally and psychologically affected due to the inhuman and degrading treatments, such as trafficking in person, torture and unlawful arrests and detentions that violated their fundamental human rights. PRO Manneh pointed out that the government has projects for the youths and there is need to re-integrate them into the society.

Manneh finally emphasized the need for government to give all the necessary support to the youths, adding that they are back and ready for national development.

Yaya Darboe, a migrant who resides in Tabokoto expianed that he was in Lybia for 13 months out of which he spent 8 months in a prison in Greyiana and was released after paying a ransom of D60,000.00; That he got re-arrested  in less than a month  and was imprisoned in a different prison at  Mousilim together with 1800 other Gambians,  whom he said are living in deplorable conditions. He confirmed the inhuman treatments that Gambian migrants go through in that country and called on the government of The Gambia to render urgent assistance to its citizenry in Tripoli.

Nyima Saidy and Lamin Suwareh both natives of Bundung and Jarra respectively, all expressed similar remarks and called on the entire Gambian citizenry,  especially the youthful population to  desist from this deadly route and join hands to develop the country.

Mr Jawo, the desk officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that the returning of the migrants was a fulfillment of the request they made to the Gambia Government. Giving a rundown, he explained that the first batch of 140 returnees arrived in February whilst the second batch arrived in March with 159 returnees; that this is the third batch arriving with 168; thus giving a total of 467 Gambian migrants so far repatriated from Tripoli to The Gambia.

Ebrima Jawo, the Deputy Permanent Secretary, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, revealed that the government of The Gambia in consultation with the International Organization for Migration facilitated and coordinated the repatriation of these returnees at their own request. He stated that factors such as high rejection of visas by the Western embassies coupled with the high rate of unemployment and poverty left the youths with no other alternative but to venture into this risky and deadly adventure. He called on the government to come to the aid of these returnees and provide long lasting remedies to their current challenges. He concluded that after their usual registration and interrogation, each returnee was given a home fare of D2460.