The fourth batch of Gambian returnees from Libya, comprising of 169 people recently gathered to form an association, designed to discourage youth from embarking on the perilous journey. The increasing number of youth embarking on the journey to Europe through the harsh deserts and across the Mediterranean sea commonly referred to as the ‘Backway’ in The Gambia, in recent years is a cause for concern.
Over the years, many have succeeded entering European soil, but countless others died on the way in search of greener pastures in the West.
Readers would recall that this latest batch of Gambian returnees arrived in the country on April 4th, 2017, through the support of the International Organization for Migration, (IOM). However, the group comprises nationals from Gambia and Senegal.
At a recent meeting held at Sinchu Baliya, Karamo Keita, the public relations officer of the association, gave an insight into the formation of the association, saying they formed the group to discourage Gambian youths from embarking on the dangerous journey.
He recounted some of the hardship some of them endured while in Libya, adding that he paid a boat twice to cross the Mediterranean sea to Italy, but failed.
“I was operating a successful business at Serrekunda Market for a long time and it was a profitable one. I spent more than one-hundred and sixty-thousand dalasi through the ‘Back-way’ and the Arabs took everything from me. I was later arrested and jailed in a prison without a bathroom,” he explained
Keita explained that it was a difficult experience for him while in Libya and that when they arrived in the country, they thought of coming up with the idea to form the association, to better sensitize the public about the dangers associated with the ‘Backway’.
“We intend to start with a house-to-house campaign to educate people about what is really happening in Libya and how blacks are treated there, and after that, we embark on a nationwide tour as we have many projects in the offing, which are all geared towards nation development,” he said
He thus called on the government to consider the plights of youth by creating job opportunities to enable them to work and support their families.