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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Gambians stranded in Niger


There are reports that some Gambian migrants have died in Niger. Some reports have shown that some time ago, many Gambian migrants were transported from Tunisia to the Libyan border and from thence into the Republic of Niger. These Gambians are in a dire need of assistance to be evacuated back to The Gambia as weather conditions are harsh there.

It is reported that they do not have enough food and medical supplies. They have raised concerns that even when someone is sick and taken to the hospital, they are given the same type of medicines all the time. This means that they do not have proper medical care.

Recent reports have revealed that many countries have evacuated their citizens from the Republic of Niger especially after the military overthrew the democratically elected government and there were fears that the country will descend into chaos.

It is not clear how many Gambians are currently stranded in Niger but considering the fact that many were transported from Tunisia and Libya and those who use Niger on their way to travel to Europe through the back way, one can assume that the number may be significant.

In any case, even if it is only one Gambian in that country, s/he needs to be evacuated back home. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad has recently evacuated Gambians from Tunisia when their stay in that country became untenable. Perhaps the same mechanism should be used to bring our countrymen in Niger home.

It has been said that officials from the Gambian embassy in Abuja, Nigeria are set to travel to Niger and find ways of assisting these Gambians to return home. It can be understood that this process may not be as quick as the migrants would like considering that they fear for their lives. The ministry should try hard to hasten this process so that the migrants and their families will have peace of mind. 

It is hard to imagine what the Gambian migrants in Niger must be going through as talks of Ecowas intervening militarily continue to be on the news every day. In fact, it is not only the migrants themselves but their families back home must be worrying as well.   

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