Gambia: 160 migrants return from Libyan jails

Since Jammeh's fall, dozens of migrants who had left to go to Europe via Libya have started coming back

Gambia: 160 migrants return from Libyan jails

World Bulletin / News Desk

Some 160 Gambians who were arrested and languishing in Libyan jails have been repatriated on Thursday night to the small West African nation through the support of the International Organization for Migration.

Since the fall of Gambia’s strongman Yahya Jammeh, dozens of migrants who had left the small nation to go to Europe via Libya have started coming back.

Bubacarr Touray, 24, who was among the repatriated Gambians said that living conditions for migrants in Libya, especially in jails, was “horrible”.

“There are people who have been shot dead by gunmen and no one knows who they are, whether government or rebels,” Touray said at Banjul International Airport.

Sulayman Ceesay, 26, also a Gambian jailed in Libya, said that in jail, they were at times denied food and water.

“It is the International Organization for Migration [IOM] that helped us with food once they located us in jail,” Ceesay said.

This is the third time the IOM is repatriating Gambians this year. About 140 Gambians aboard IOM’s first chartered flight from Libya arrived in Banjul on March 10.

A second flight from Libya carrying 170 stranded Gambians followed on April 4, while another 290 have signed up for the IOM’s EU-funded voluntary return program, according to the international organization.

Gambia is one of Africa’s smallest nations, with a population of just under 2 million.

And yet its citizens have consistently ranked among the top five nationalities taking the Central Mediterranean route from Libya to Italy.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Nisan 2017, 10:53