Gambians stranded in Libya call for help

Feb 16, 2021, 12:40 PM

The Gambian Association in Libya, an umbrella body of all Gambians in the troubled north African country has called on the Gambia government to appoint a liaison officer as hundreds of her citizens continue to face terrible challenges.

Libya has been a hotspot for migrants since the fall of the Gadaffi regime in 2011, with thousands of Gambians using it as a route to Europe.

However, as the conflict clocks a decade with peace now within touching distance under the new interim Prime Minister, there's already potential for reopening of diplomatic missions.

A statement from the Gambian Association said appointing a liaison officer could make a huge difference.

"The Gambian Association is struggling to undertake and carry out any or all activities for the promotion and welfare of all Gambian nationals in Libya, which we have registered. 15,780 Gambians are currently living in Libya, 75 stranded, 5 widows with their kids, 4 psychiatric cases, 8 medical cases, 2 dead bodies in the mortuary. The Association always finds it difficult to bury bodies in Libya or to repatriate them in the absence of a diplomatic mission. 

Therefore, the Gambia Association renews its request for the government to at least to appoint a Liaison Officer who can run the affairs of the Gambians diplomatically in Libya," the association stated. 

The Association said Gambians came together and forged a lasting brotherhood in Libya, regardless of their differences as the country grapples with rising violence. 

It added: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad requested from the Gambian Association to select a person to be appointed as the liaison officer in Libya within ourselves in April 2020. We selected a person named Abubacarr Camara on 12/4/2020 and sent the name to the Ministry. Since then, we haven’t heard from the Ministry.

The Gambian Association in Libya relies on the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to evacuate Gambians, plus providing health care and other humanitarian assistance since the conflict began in Libya."