Gambians in Libya Say They Have No Protection

By Suwaibou Touray & Sailu Bah

Information reaching Foroyaa from a relative of a Gambian residing in
the war torn North African state of Libya say he has got information
that his brother and 6 others were arrested and detained in Libya for
more than a week now.Mr. Lamin Dampha of Tallinding said his brother phoned him from a camp
close to the Libyan capital of Tripoli, and told him that he was
arrested together with several other Gambians and detained at a camp
in a town called Masroot.
According to Dampha’s narration, the brother was arrested with 6 other
Gambians at their residence in Masroot. He said the Gambians were
approached by Libyan security who requested for their ID papers which
they produced but that did not deter them from being arrested. He said
the 7 Gambians were then arrested and taken away to the Masroot camp
where they are still being detained.
Asked whether any Gambian diplomat is aware of their detention, Dampha
said his brother told him that the UN Refugee Agency came to the camp
but registered only the Senegalese citizens, but affirmed that no
Gambian diplomat came to see them.
Asked whether he knows the conditions they are detained under, he said
his brother informed him that they are being maltreated and that some
of them are beaten by the guards.
Asked whether their captors told them the reason for their detention,
he said they did not know the reason for their detention and they did
not have any access to make phone calls at the camp but do it at great
risk.
Foroyaa eventually got in touch with the Foreign Affairs Department to
shed light on the report.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday 4 February 2015, this
reporter spoke to the Secretary who later phoned the Permanent
Secretary and informed him about the presence of the reporter
regarding the issue of the 7 Gambians detained in Libya.
According to the Secretary, the PS said he had a meeting to attend but
is yet to offer any further comment on the matter.
The Libyan representative was said to have travelled out of the
country at the time when this reporter visited the office for
comments.
Foroyaa will make further follow up on this matter both with
the Ministry and the Libyan Embassy in Banjul.