By Omar Bah
According to the United Nation International Organisation of Migration (IOM), over 2850 Gambian migrants arrived in Italy in 2017 alone compared to 2901 in 2016.
This number puts The Gambia in sixth place in the world ranking ahead of its immediate neighbours Senegal whose number stands at 2555 in 2017 and 1, 985 in 2016 and behind Nigeria, Bangladesh, Guinea Conakry and Ivory Coast.
Nigeria, as was the case last year, represents the largest single nationality of migrants arriving in Italy, followed by Bangladesh, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Gambia.
IOM also reported that in total 37, 235 migrants all over the world arrived in Italy through the Mediterranean in 2017 compare to 27, 926 in 2016.
The UN further reported that over the weekend and into Monday that its field staffers at Italian landing points calculated a total of 6,612 rescued survivors from more than a dozen locations since last Friday. Over 190 migrants lost their life in two shipwrecks.
Commenting on the latest development, the Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo said that, according to eye witness testimony from migrants who arrived Sunday in Pozzallo, a dinghy carrying about 130 migrants capsized during the sea crossing: 50 migrants survived while at least 80 people went missing.
“Favourable weather between Friday and Sunday brought thousands of migrants attempting a sea crossing to escape the violence and abuse in Libya,” Di Giacomo said. “Our field colleagues providing direct assistance at the harbours reported that many migrants bore signs of torture.”