Jan 3, 2012, 2:28 PM
Despite the recurring loss of lives in the dangerous seas between Africa and Europe, many are still willing to brave the precarious conditions to enter Europe, as demonstrated by 22 more Gambian youths, who were last week arrested in a suspected attempt to travel over land through the Sahara Desert to Europe.
The group, which consisted of mainly youths, was reportedly intercepted by officers of the Gambia Immigration Department at the Kerr Ali checkpoint in the North Bank Region.
According to the department’s spokesperson, Assistant Superintendent of Immigration Ensa Jawara, the accused persons were on board two mini buses with Malian and Ghanaian registration numbers Y2374 MD and T0366MD respectively.
Jawara, who was speaking during a briefing with journalists, said on arrival at the checkpoint, immigration officers conducted a search in the two mini buses, where they discovered that the passengers on board were heading for a journey, and that they were all doing it in the illegal way.
He told journalists that all those arrested, most of whom were Gambians from the North Bank Region, are currently detained at the Tanji immigration office, where they are helping the officers in their investigations.
While appealing to the general public to cooperate with them, in case they have more information about this particular case, the immigration department mouthpiece stated that the government has no problem with anybody willing to travel genuinely.
He noted that those engaged in illegal migration are now developing new strategies, by using the road instead of the sea.
“The safety of the country’s citizens is the concern of the government, and this was manifested during the Libyan crisis when President Jammeh hired a chartered flight to evacuate Gambians and non-Gambians alike from Libya,” Jawara added.