By Omar Bah
A 29-year-old Gambian asylum seeker in Italy has told authorities there that he wants to reunite with his family back home.
The unidentified man raised by the deputy mayor of Rimini arrived in Italy on a boat last year.
“He wishes to return to his country but he is without a passport and, in the absence of international agreements between the two states, he cannot go back,” deputy mayor of Rimini, Gloria Lisi told journalists in Italy.
Mayor Lisi said the Gambian asylum seeker no longer wants to stay in Italy.
“He would like to return to his homeland, in Gambia, but he does not have a passport and therefore cannot leave. The paradox is that we cannot satisfy migrants. The famous Salvini decree, which was supposed to make repatriation easier, actually doesn’t help at all,” she added.
“And, in the specific case, the Gambian “is giving signs of mental imbalance and impatience because he no longer bears the situation. In practice, the young man, with a temporary permit, cannot leave because he does not have a passport and there are no bilateral agreements between Italy and Gambia for repatriation,” she clarified.
When contacted for reaction, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Saikou Ceesay said: “This is news to me. However, our Gambian ambassador in Madrid is the one covering Italy. I will find out. You can also add that our embassies do render emergency travel certificate to Gambians interested to return to the country”.
Over 35,000 Gambians arrived in Europe by irregular means between 2014 and 2018, with many others in Africa along the Central Mediterranean Route opting for voluntary return.