Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Covid-19: Gambians Stranded in Senegal Appeal for Gov’t Repatriation

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Gambians stranded in neighboring Senegal, have appealed to the President Barrow-led government to repatriate them to their country.

Senegal is being hit by the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) registering about 200 confirmed cases and counting every day.

The borders of both countries have since been closed amid the growing concern of the spread of Covid-19, thus barring travelling by either land or airspace.

One of our contact persons in Senegal, Baboucarr Jobe who hails from Brikama Nyambai, West Coast Region, said he is a tailor in Dakar, Senegal.

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On March 6, 2020, he came to The Gambia to attend the funeral of his elder sister called Amie Jobe who he said was a prison officer.

He said seven days after the funeral of his elder sister, he returned to Dakar to continue his tailoring work.

Eventually, he said he heard the Senegalese Government announcing the closure of its borders. The tailoring shop he works at also got closed until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“So at this moment, I’m staying alone here with no family members with me,” he said. “So on Monday, I went to the Gambia Embassy but the gate man I met there told me since week before last, they stopped working till this virus ends.”

According to him, he knows four other Gambians who want to return to the country. Four Gambians, including himself, are residing in Dakar and one is in Touba.

Speaking further, Mr. Jobe said: “I even gave my number to the gate man at the Gambia Embassy so that if anyone comes there and wants to go home he or she can call me but no one has called me yet. He told me before I went there, some people went there, but they didn’t leave their contacts there.”

Abdou Dibba, a student also living in Dakar told Foroyaa that after they finished their exam on Thursday 26th March, the following day they went to the car park to return to The Gambia but they found the place closed.

Dibba said there are about 25 Gambians like him who want to return to the country and last Monday, he went to the Gambia’s Embassy in Dakar to lodge their plights but the response he received was not satisfactory.

He said the ambassador told him that it is not within his mandate to provide them with a vehicle to transport them to The Gambia and that they should make arrangements with their various school authorities to facilitate their transport.

He said he has been in Senegal for two years and that he shares a rented room with one Jerry Touray, which is costing them fifty thousand francs CFA (50,000.00 CFA francs).

He said their money will soon finish and considering nobody knows when the pandemic will end plus schools are closed, they wanted to return home until such time things would go back to normal.

As of yesterday, Sunday 5th April, they had to pay CFA100,000 for March and April rent. Dibba revealed that they are planning to walk by foot from Dakar in Senegal to the country if the state of public emergency is extended.

The lawmakers have approved the extension of the state of public emergency to 45 days.
When contacted for comments, the spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs, Saikou Ceesay, said they are not aware of this situation but he promised to take the matter to the relevant authorities- his seniors, for possible consideration.

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