Monday, June 17, 2024

Stranded Gambian Migrants Appeal for Support to Return Home

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By: Alieu Jallow

At least a dozen Gambian migrants stranded in Tunisia are desperately seeking support to return home after several unsuccessful attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy in search of greener pastures.

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Speaking to our reporter, Alasan Saidy, a native of Brikama, decried that all they want is to be repatriated back home to reunite with their families after spending almost two years in Tunisia. He lamented that their living conditions leave much to be desired, as they experience inhumane treatment with little food and no work.

“We have paid a lot of money to agents, but I have been duped on several occasions and now I am no longer getting financial support from my struggling dad. Here, even getting food to eat is a big challenge for us. We have tried calling the IMO office to seek support for voluntary return, but to no avail. We are appealing for support to return home and focus on how to rebuild our lives,” he decried.

Joining him, his counterpart Sheikh Omar Mballow cited paying over €1500 to an agent to facilitate his crossing but falling victim to a scam. He narrated having spent almost two years in Tunis trying to cross unsuccessfully and now opts to come back home as he no longer has the financial backing to continue his journey.

“I paid the agent Amadou Jallow, a Guinean national, €1000 for my crossing, and after some time, he asked for another €500, which I paid him. He disappeared, and since then, I could not afford any amount to pay another agent because conditions are so extreme here. We are calling on the government to help us reunite with our families,” he pleaded.

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These Gambian migrants stressed that they underwent inhumane treatment such as detention, torture, and police raids. They said their situation continues to worsen every passing day and humbly appealed to the authorities, such as the International Organization for Migration office and the government of The Gambia, to come to their aid. Similarly, their families back home also echo a similar sentiment as they anticipate receiving their children in safe hands.

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