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Monday, September 28, 2020

What next for Gambians stranded in Dakar?

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By Momodou Justice Darboe

There appears to be no end in sight to the woes of several Gambians currently holed up in Dakar as the Gambia government is yet to make any tangible move to repatriate them, The Standard can report.

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Sources close to foreign affairs ministry revealed that a number of Gambian students studying in various fields in universities in Senegal before the Covid-19 outbreak, are stranded in Dakar.

Earlier reports said two senior staff of Nawec were also among several Gambians stranded in Senegal as the country ramps up its Covid-19 restrictions. Businesspeople were also among the stranded.

“We are stranded in Dakar and could not return home due to Senegalese government’s Covid-19 restriction and the Gambian embassy in Dakar could not facilitate our home-return,” said one of the stranded Gambians speaking to The Standard on condition of anonymity.

Currently, there are growing fears that some of the stranded Gambian students could go without a roof on their heads as they now struggle with rent.
Most of them were reportedly disillusioned and were accusing the Gambian embassy in Dakar of dereliction of duty.

But according to foreign affairs ministry spokesperson, Saikou Ceesay, the embassy did not have the wherewithal to return the stranded students.
“They [students] visited our embassy in Dakar but the embassy has no funds for such things [repatriation],” he explained.

He further explained that the most ideal thing under the circumstance is for the students to write to the embassy and copy their letter to the ministry of foreign affairs for possible intervention.

Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports on the number of Gambian students currently stuck in Senegal. Some reports say the number is little over 20.
Law-makers, politicians, civil society actors have in the meantime added their voices to already shrill calls for the swift repatriation of citizens stranded in Senegal.

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