Nfamara Suwareh, one of the 141 Gambian migrants who arrived home on Friday from Libya following their request for voluntary repatriation has told the Daily Observer that, the treatment given to dogs in Libya is far better than the way Africans are treated.
The Ebo Town native who shared his shocking experience in an exclusive interview with this reporter revealed that, they left Libya on Thursday and landed at the Banjul International Airport in the early hours of Friday. “Getting home is the best thing that can ever happen to every young African in that unbelievable prison of Tripoli,” he said.
His story: “I left Gambia in January 2016 when I embarked on a journey to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. Upon arrival in Tripoli, I stopped in a state called Bushlim to work for sometime and earn money for my boat ticket, few months later our residence was invaded by soldiers who arrested and kept us in a prison. My family had to pay over D25,000 for my release.”
From there, he said he relocated to Gregurage state where he spent months before he was arrested together with so many Gambians and other nationals from various parts of Africa and taken to another prison on January 14th, 2017 during the recent attack and bombing in the capital.
“When we got to the prison, a Libyan soldier whispered to me “this is no place for black people, they might kill you”. I was scared to death but there was nothing I could do about it though I appreciate the fact that someone in there cared. Luckily we were transferred to another prison the next morning, I thought it was a relief only to know that my life could end there due to the level of inhumane treatment we have experienced in there,” he narrated.
“Over 45 young men are locked in a small room where we could barely lay down or sit comfortably. We were later taken to bigger rooms and over 500 of us are packed in it. No rest rooms or latrines are allocated for us, we defecate in plastic bags and ease in the same place we sleep, you can imagine the level of madness in there. The only time we have to stretch our legs is when we are out for our so-called meals, both food and water are insufficient. We are given small packs of food and small water battle for each meal which can’t even fill a baby’s stomach,” he disclosed.
“Despite the discomfort in the rooms, we are always in a hurry to be taken back because of the torture we go through when we are outside. Some of my African brothers died as a result of torture, some are paralyzed while others are seriously affected physically and mentally. Our brothers are losing their lives every day and we are thousands in that prison which doesn’t stop them from arresting and bringing more everyday.”
“Due to the torture, my left hand is now partially paralyzed, I can’t even bend my fingers properly. My first bath after January 14th 2017 was Friday March 10th 2017 when I got home safely. My family helped massage my body everyday to ease the body pain and I will surely go for medical check up. No matter how long my narration takes, I can never say it all.”
He made it clear to the general public that The Gambia Government in collaboration with the United Nations facilitated their return, adding that many African leaders are doing the same. Suwareh went on to plead with the government to rescue the rest of Gambians there and other Africans, for all they see now is either come home or die in that prison. He noted that compared to the number of Gambians left behind, the rescue of 141 people is like nothing has been done yet.
He seized the opportunity to thank the current government for its timely intervention.
Speaking to his family members, Binta Kassama his elder sister expressed relief for seeing her brother alive, confessing that they taught he was dead already. She commended the UN and Gambia Government for the support as she pleaded with them to help out the rest.
by Saffiatou Colley from DailyObserver