By Lamin Cham
Two Gambians have been arrested in Senegal for allegedly trying to secure Senegalese passport, the Enqueteplus newspaper reported yesterday.
According to the newspaper, the two men’s case was revealed by Commissioner Djibril Kamara, the director of the Police for Foreigners and Travel Documents (DPETV) on the 20th October.
The newspaper said the duo had turned up at the Passport Office with Senegalese identity cards in the names of I. Lo, 28, and O. Dieng, born in 1998 with their photos, in attempt to secure passports.
However, after some interviews, the police doubted their Senegalese nationality and as required by law, subjected them to an investigation after which both admitted that they are Gambian citizens.
The newspaper further reported that the duo then gave their real names as I. Sonko (born in 1999 in Farana, Gambia) and O. Jarjue (born in 1998 in Brikama), details that are far different from the data contained on their purported Senegalese national identity cards.
Also, according to the newspaper, during the investigations one of them, Mr. Jarjue confessed he is Gambian and that a certain Abdou, residing in Morocco, provided him with a Senegalese birth certificate issued by the civil status center of the commune of Touba Mosquée.
He said this birth certificate was registered at the Mbacké district court, for the sum of 100,000 CFA francs, but, added that they deceived the judge who issued them a birth registration authorization.
His compatriot I. Sonko told the investigators that the name I. Lo, which he used in the Senegalese identity card was suggested to him by the same Abdou and that he too used the same Touba civil status center to acquire a birth certificate.
After their confessions, the police conducted a search at their house led by Commissioner Bara Sangharé, the head of urban security at the central police station in Dakar, who discovered their real Gambian identity cards in the names of O. Jarjue and I. Sonko.
At the end of the investigation under police custody, the two men were referred for prosecution, on charges of forgery and use of forged administrative documents and identity theft.
“In fact, the Senegalese passport is in high demand by nationals of the sub-region, due to the fact that Senegal has signed agreements with certain countries to facilitate the access of its nationals to these States. Thus, some people take the opportunity to fake it in order to have this document. But the director put in place a protocol which has since then made it possible to arrest several counterfeiters,” Enqueteplus newspaper reported.