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Immigration PRO warns against illegal migration

Sep 16, 2011, 1:00 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The public relations officer of the Gambia Immigration Department, assistant superintendent Ensa Jawara, has warned the general public against illegal migration, especially the youths, asking them to desist from attempting to get to Europe through the back way, and urging them to venture  into farming or business.

His warning came following the recent arrest of some youths, mostly Gambians in the North Bank and Upper River regions respectively, who were trying to sail to Europe through the back way.

The Immigration PRO was speaking yesterday in an exclusive interview with this paper held at the Immigration main office in Banjul.

He pointed out that what they learned from their last arrest was that the youths have been travelling to the sub-region, like any ordinary person, either to Mail or Mauritania.

He said they used those countries as the meeting point, adding that as result, the officers at the borders would find it very difficult to detect their strategies and plans.

“The government of the Gambia has no problem with anybody who wants to travel to Europe genuinely by way of acquiring a visa,” he stated.

It is the responsibility of the Gambia Government to protect the lives of its citizens through the Immigration Department, and that preventing illegal migration was one way of doing this.

He pointed out that the Government of the Gambia through it leadership provided six chartered flights to evacuate Gambians and non Gambians from Libya to Banjul, to escape from the war, noting that this was a clear manifestation of the government’s commitment to ensure the safety of the lives of its citizens who were in trouble in Libya.

The Immigration PRO used the occasion to warn the youths to stop travelling to Europe through the dangerous sea voyage, without the materials for the safety of their lives, such as life jackets.

He added that the government of the Gambia had created an enabling environment for the youths to venture into farming or other business.

When asked how the officers knew that youths were going through the back way, PRO Jawara responded that the security officers were working on information provided to them.

The Immigration officers alone cannot do it; they need the help of the general public to inform them, Jawara went on.

He pointed out that Immigration Department had organized a countrywide sensitization tour to enlighten the village alkalolu and village development committee (VDC) members about the strategies used by the youths, when they plan to get to Europe through the back way.

 He said the Immigration is partnering with other relevant institutions, like Operation No Back Way To Europe to fight against illegal migration.

Jawara  warned that landlords who host aliens must ensure that they regularize their status by registering with the village alkalo, failing to do which legal action will be taken against them.