Reliable information reaching The Point has indicated that personnel of the Gambia Immigration Department intercepted at least 29 illegal immigrants on their way to Europe, with 28 of the suspects believed to be Gambians and one to be a Malian.
Confirming the story to this reporter, who was investigating the matter, the Public Relations Officer at the Immigration Department, Ba Ensa Jawara, said: "The story is true, the suspects were 29 in number, out of which 28 are all Gambians and one is a Malian national."
According to the immigration spokesperson, they received intelligence information on the 4th December 2010, adding that on Tuesday 7th December the immigration officers mounted a surveillance operation in order to trace the suspects.
He added that on Wednesday 8th December 2010, they got confirmed information that thesuspects departed Tipper Garage on the night of Tuesday 7th December 2010. He added that they informed their men to be vigilant, and mounted surveillance in the area.
"They the officers also contacted the officers at Denton Bridge, so that they can be alerted. The officers at Denton Bridge also prepared an advanced team towards Cape Point, and eventually they intercepted a local car known as 'gelegele,' full of people, and it was confirmed that they were the suspects," Immigration PRO noted.
"We got information that another taxi driver who the suspects hired, was on the way coming, and the officers on surveillance finally apprehended the taxi driver with the suspects," the immigration mouthpiece told this reporter in an interview yesterday.
He said the 29 suspects are presently detained at the premises of the irregular migration and border patrol unit of the Gambia Immigration Department stationed at Tanjie.
He further told this reporter that investigations into the matter are still going on, revealing further that the agent(s) is still at large.
The immigration spokesperson also appealed to the general public to come forward and give any information pertaining to the issue at hand to the officials of the Gambia Immigration Department.
Jawara finally says that Gambians can travel genuinely, but illegal is unacceptable, disclosing further that the safety of Gambian citizens is a government priority.
Meanwhile, sources told this paper yesterday that the agent is a Senegalese national and each of the suspects paid D20,000 to the Senegalese man, who is said to be on the run.