Gambian migrant frustrated over asylum paper delays


Reports said hundreds of migrants from countries including Gambia, Eritrea, Sudan and Pakistan live together in a former American army base set in the Sicilian countryside.

The Mirror’s Russell Myers who visited the CARA Mineo – one of Italy’s largest reception centres, an hour’s drive inland from the port of Catania, said he had heard tales of misery, overcrowding, warring gangs and excessive delays

Myers reported that the capacity is supposedly 2,000, but some of the migrants living there claim up to three times that number are currently living in the block of apartments, set behind imposing fences in the middle of the countryside.


He said some of the residents spoke of warring gangs made up of migrants from different countries and cultures operating inside the compound.

In an interview with Myers, Nuha said: “I have been kept here for more than 18 months now and still the government will not give me papers. I moved for a better life but what is this I am faced with now. I have a wife and two young children and I cannot provide for them. This is my only wish. The number of people in the compound is heavy. It is very overcrowded and only more will come now in the summer months. We are all escaping war and famine and displacement but there is more unhappiness to be found here. Our lives are nothing here. I have lost friends in the crossings. Just this week, three friends I discovered had died trying to make it here. The world must look at this situation and do more, it is a genocide.”

Nuha said asylum seekers are fed two meals a day, coffee and biscuits between 7am and 9am for breakfast and a meal of pasta and tomato sauce every day at 1pm for lunch.

There is fruit to take in the afternoon and the migrants are able to access limited medical facilities in the compound.

He added: “I have a brother in London and one in Germany. All I want is to be able to reach them.”

Reports said under European law the asylum seekers can be held for 35 days in a CARA. But some of the migrants the Mirror spoke to have been held at the former base for more than 18 months.

According to official records, the average stay is around a year. Reports added that private companies own the centres and the Italian state pays them around £25 per immigrant per day in rent – which amounts to more than £40million a year.

Recently, a boat carrying hundreds of Migrants capsized killing at least 800 people.