Oct 7, 2020, 11:45 AM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

An operation headed by operatives of the State Intelligence Services (SIS) in collaboration with the Illegal Migration Unit of Barra Immigration have arrested 13 ‘back-way’ smugglers mainly boat captains, as the fight against the back-way syndrome intensifies, The Point has been reliably informed.

The suspects mainly Senegalese are currently under custody as investigation into the matter deepens.

A source familiar with the matter and spoke to The Point on the condition of anonymity confirmed the development, adding that the SIS, especially under its current leadership is taking the lead in the fight against back-way syndrome and other organised crimes in the country.

The State Intelligence Service, our source added, who are always on 24-hour intelligence surveillance and gathering in the country on Monday 5 October, 2020, made a major arrest of illegal migrants.

“This operation was prompted based on the intelligence reports from the command on some of the activities happening within the area.”

“A team of SIS operatives were dispatched to Mbankam and Bakindikikoto ‘tendas’ (landing sites) respectively to lay an ambush for illegal migrants who might use this tendas to canoe their way to Jinack where they should board a boat to embark on a journey.

While conducting surveillance within the area especially at the tendas, our source said, no sign or trace was observed. “The team was later informed that unusual activities were observed at a compound near Barra church. Due to the team’s commitment in ensuring that their objectives are achieved, a case study was conducted and we realised that over 10 youths were discovered in one room in a manner which is not normal.”

“Quickly, a raid was conducted and luckily seven of them who include six Senegalese and one Conakry Guinean national were arrested, while some escaped arrest. I can tell you that currently manhunt for other escapees intensifies.”

In a bid to establish who is behind or the main organiser, our source further added, a raid was conducted on one Yerro Bajo who was earlier profiled as one of the kingpins. “Yerro along with five others, all Senegalese were arrested in his house at Essau village.”

After a marathon search conducted on the suspects, our source went on, items like compass, a box of plugs, carton of soft drinks, a bag of Caffe Touba and some food stuff were found on them. “These items made us to draw a conclusion that Yerro and team were up to something.”

Yerro Bajo, profiled as the Kingpin, our source revealed, confessed that the purported journey is on the final stage. He stated that his counterparts are Senegalese; namely: Bakary Cham native of Kies and Omar Lo, native of Dakar. “In fact, Yerro revealed that he has acquired a boat in the name of fishing and currently in hidden somewhere in the sea.”

Our source maintained that Yerro Bajo told operatives of the SIS that he has over 20 Gambian who paid to him for this journey. “The suspects arrested are all captains who would help the principal suspect during the journey. He has, however, declined to give the exact day of their departure,” our source said, adding “Yerro Bajo claimed to have spent 80m CFA which is equivalent to D640, 000.”

Our reporter made all efforts to reach the high command of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) for comments but proved futile.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of The Gambia Immigration Department couldn’t also be reached for comments at the time of gathering the report.