By Alagie Manneh
About seventy Gambian migrants deported from Tunisia and attempting to get back home in The Gambia have been denied entry into Mali by the country’s border security, according to Abubacarr Kinteh, who is one of the stranded Gambians there.
He said the group, all men, had to travel across several countries including Algeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso where they are now stranded and unable to pass through its border shared with Mali. “We have been stranded at the border here for three weeks now,” Mr Kinteh told The Standard.
“The Malian border security won’t allow us into their country, and we don’t know why. We are in a terrible predicament at the moment, with some of us fallen sick. Food is also a problem, and so we are appealing to the Gambia government to help repatriate us,” Mr Kinteh said.
He said they were deported along with nationals of Senegal and Guinea Bissau, all whom have passed through Mali.
The group said they have also contacted the Director of Migration and Diaspora Affairs at the foreign ministry, Musa Camara, about the matter.
Mr Camara said they are working on having them repatriated by having a laissez-passer issued to them. “The problem is there is a security situation in Mali and that’s why the border officials did not trust them enough to allow them to pass, considering that they didn’t even have the necessary documentation,” he said.
He added that the country’s honorary consul in Bamako has also been contacted to help expedite the process of having them returned.
“The IOM has already begun working on their case. It could be weeks before we finalise everything. They just need to be a little patient until then,” the director said.