An incident took place in front of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) office on Tuesday, 14 November, between 10:50am and 1pm. While it has been reported in the press that some returnees were arrested and detained by the police, IOM would like to clarify that IOM premises was confronted by a group of returnees who were dissatisfied with the assistance they believed they should have received from IOM.
IOM staff attended to these returnees’ inquiries with diligence and provided detailed information on the assistance type and processes involved. Despite efforts to mediate this situation, after detailed explanations were provided, the group of returnees started displaying violent attitudes, throwing rocks against the IOM office and being verbally and physically aggressive.
In responding to such an attack, IOM was compelled to call the Gambian police in order to request their presence to secure the safety and security of IOM staff.
IOM has no doubt that Gambian police reacted with due diligence.
IOM takes this opportunity to clarify that, as part of implementing the EUTF-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration in The Gambia, IOM has started providing assistance to support a total of 1,500 Gambians returning to The Gambia. The aim of this reintegration assistance is not to provide cash but rather a tailored in-kind support to returnees through the provision, for example, of medical and psychosocial services, enrolment in vocational and skills training, referral to existing job opportunities, and advice and support in designing viable business plans, so that they can reintegrate back into Gambian society in a sustainable manner. The reintegration assistance also aims to contribute to providing returnees with opportunities to get back on track with their lives in The Gambia.
This support includes provision of tailored reintegration packages for vulnerable migrants (such as unaccompanied children, women or those requiring medical attention) which will be designed based on individual needs, including family tracing, reunification, and psychosocial counseling, among others.