By Omar Bah, Standard Newspaper
A 20-year-old girl, who left home in Bakoteh to visit her sister at London Corner and later surfaced in Niger on the ‘back-way’ is now reported dead, family sources told The Standard.
Makadi Sissoho, a 7th grade student at Bakoteh Upper Basic who was last seen in December 2016, died between the borders of Mali and Niger en route to Libya.
According to Hawa Jabbie, the mother of the late Makadi, the family received the shocking news few days after her passing from an agent in Niger.
“A day prior to her departure, she told me she was going to spend the night at her sister’s house in London Corner. But when she failed to return the following day I called the sister to enquire her whereabouts, but her sister told me she had left her house to a friend’s house in the night,” the mother said.
She said that was the last time she laid eyes on her young daughter.
She went on: “After a few weeks she called me to say that she was in Mali on her way to Italy. I was devastated and immediately advised her to return home, but she said I should let her proceed with her journey because she must reach Italy”.
The distraught mother said she later lost contact with her daughter but was always praying that she was fine until the sad news came a few days ago.
She died together with the friend she went with.
She further disclosed that the girls were among other passengers who were abandoned in the middle of the desert by a driver who had a breakdown and promised to go get spare parts.
“The driver never returned and eventually they all died on the way,” she said tearfully.
Meanwhile Eliasa Jammeh a migrant returnee from Niger has said that many Gambians who are stranded in Niamey prefer death to returning to their communities because they fear being thought to have failed. “When I was coming home I tried to convince many Gambians to come with me but they refused. Most of them told me they will rather die on the way than return to Gambia to face embarrassment in society,” he told journalists recently.
He said sometimes society’s expectations put pressure on the young people to cultivate certain attitudes.
“My return was made even easier when I discussed with many of my friends in Italy who told me it was difficult to find work there. After that moment I decided that the journey is not worth risking my life. That’s how I decided to come home,” Jammeh said.
He continued: “It is a desperate situation and too dangerous from start to finish. There are people who will try to rob you and take your money just to get you on these boats, which are overcrowded and not safe”.