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81 Gambians evacuated from Niger-Libya border

Sep 28, 2011, 12:58 PM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

As the conflict in war-torn Libya is showing no sign of abating, more Gambians are being evacuated from the affected areas through humanitarian assistance provided by the International Organization for Migration, IOM. On Monday 26th October 2011 some 81 Gambians arrived in the country via Dakar.

The Gambian consular officer in Niamey together with the High Commission in Lagos, Nigeria, did all the ground work with the IOM for returning these Gambians.

Confirming the story to this reporter last evening, the Director General of Gambia Immigration Department, Buba Sagnia, said the evacuates arrived at 8:45pm local time.

“They came on board Air Senegal through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) chartered flight,” he said.

According to Sagnia, most of them said they were staying in and around Libya and Niger for between one and three years.

Unlike some of the previous evacuates from Libya, the recent batch of evacuates are said to have been looking healthier and fit.

They complained of no tortured, except the loss of belongs by some of them.

The young Gambian evacuees were said to have been in the desert trekking for days, before reaching Niamey.

According to immigration officials, the latest batch comprises mainly youth from Baddibou, the Central River and Upper River regions.

Meanwhile, the head of the country’s Immigration service used the opportunity to call on Gambian youths to desist from embarking on dangerous journeys abroad.

He recalled that earlier this year, the Gambia government chartered about six flights to evacuate nationals from Libya.

This was a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to address the plight of citizens wherever they may be.

He added that the government is doing its best, but the people must change their attitude.

Immigration DG Sagnia blamed human traffickers for putting unrealistic expectations in the minds of our young people while calling on the media to help in the fight against illegal migration.