Gambian migrants blast German mayor’s ‘insensitive’ comments

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By Omar Bah

The Gambian migrant community in Germany has expressed outrage and disappointment over comments made by Mayor Boris Erasmus Palmer of Baden-Württemberg, Tübingen city suggesting that a Gambian killed in the city was a drug peddler.

 Basiru Jallow, a Gambian was murdered last week and soon after the news broke, Mayor Boris Erasmus Palmer wrote the following comment on his Facebook Page: “According to police, the man killed with a knife was 23-year-old Gambian. The perpetrator is on the loose in the heart of the city on the bright side of day. The crime scene is right where I took this picture; it is the site of the open drug scene mostly run by refugees from The Gambia. I have always urged the police to fight them as hard as possible, but it’s very difficult for refugees. Petty crime is not enough for deportation. The financial gain is so great that arrests and a few days in jail have been calculated, and often the young men have to send the money home. They get sent off for this.”


Mayor Boris also said the police mostly succeeded when they took out drug depots or apprehended the suppliers.


But reacting to these comments, Yahya Sonko, a Gambian migration activist in Baden-Württemberg addressed the mayor with the following comments: “It is very unfortunate that you make such a very discriminatory statement against my homeland, The Gambia and Gambians. You didn’t only discriminate against Gambians but you went too far to even alleged that they send drug money to their homeland which you have no proof of. The police preliminary report didn’t indicate that the deceased was a drug dealer, but here you as mayor, instead of waiting for full details from the police, you are drawing conclusion.”

Sonko also told the mayor that Gambians are very hardworking, talented and obedient.

He warned the mayor that each time governments and other authorities use racism and discrimination for political ends, “they are playing with fire”.

“Official tolerance and a tacit green light for racial discrimination can fuel tensions and this has played out catastrophically throughout history. We do not need reminding you that racism and discrimination can be steps on the way to conflict,” Sonko told the mayor.