Gambians in ‘unlawful’ Libya detention


“I recently got out of prison after my family back home paid 500 dinar [D15,000] to the Libyan police,” a Gambian migrant, Ebrima Njie, has said in a telephone interview. 

He added: “The arrests are unlawful because the police have not told us why they are detaining us. Some have spent months and others weeks in detention without charge in Tripoli and other cities and all they request from us is money.”

Also speaking to The Standard, Mrs Fatou Ceesay, a single mother who lives in Ebo Town said her son was among the detainees. 


“I received a telephone call [from Libya] and I was asked to answer to my son, who told me that Libyan police raided the compound he was residing and arrested them. He told me the police had requested for 600 dinar [D20,000] for him to be released on bail.”

She explained that after speaking with her son, she talked with a Gambian who confirmed to her that he was at the police station to secure bail for a group of Gambian youths. 

“He said he was the local agent,” the woman said of the Gambian she spoke to. “He told me hundreds of Gambians have been arrested in recent months. He promised that if I pay the 600 dinar, he would secure bail for my son.”

This is the latest report from North Africa where young Gambian migrants pass through on their ‘back-way’ journey to Europe. The Gambia’s Interior minister, Ousman Sonko, had earlier confirmed to a local newspaper that 53 Gambian migrants were awaiting deportation from Tunisia where they’d been arrested for ‘illegal entry’.


By Lamin Njie