Gambian stranded at Malaysia airport for 3 months seeks help

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By Lamin Cham

A Gambian stranded at Kuala Lumpur Airport for the past three months is seeking help to fly back home.

Saikou Bah from Banjulinding arrived in Malaysia on a short stay visa in February.


Unable to secure a permanent stay he was asked to leave at the expiry of his visa. “I heeded Malaysian immigration department’s instructions to leave their country and flew to Singapore, another Commonwealth country hoping to carry on with my dreams. But on arrival, I was put on the plane hotfoot back to Malaysia landing at the part of the airport reserved for only Asia bound flights. To catch any flight from this country I need to cross over to the other part of the airport used by flights from elsewhere. But this simple act has proven impossible because the immigration said with my visa expired a long time ago I cannot move beyond the area unless with authorised escort, embassy assistance or other means,” Samba told The Standard in a distressed voice over the phone from Kuala Lumpur airport.

He explained that he had contacted the Gambia embassy in China, the nearest diplomatic post and had written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Banjul for official intervention to rescue him from the airport but for three months he has not heard from either.

“I bought and forfeited three tickets and my latest scheduled departure date was Saturday, 13 May but again I could not cross over to catch the Qatar Airways flight to Accra,” he said.

Samba said he is confined to “a small space” at the airport where he has been loafing and sleeping for the past three months. Samba told The Standard that he has contacted the International Organisation for Migration but they said it would take a long time before their intervention would bear fruit. “I have been told that only consular service or direct intervention by the Gambia Government can help me out. I am appealing to the Gambia Government for immediate help,” he said in tears.