GID arrests over 300 undocumented West African migrants

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By Amadou Manjang

The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) has arrested 302 undocumented migrants during the weekend in Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Region.

The undocumented migrants are from Nigeria, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Serra Leone among other West African nations.

Among the arrestees, fifty-three are females and two hundred and fifty-nine are males.

According to the Commissioner of Operations at GID, Bubacarr Janneh, the undocumented migrants would be repatriated or prosecuted within 72hrs.

According to Commissioner Janneh, ECOWAS permitted migrants visit and stay in the Gambia for up to ninety days.

He said on entering the Gambia, migrants need to be registered but these migrants stayed more than 90 days without being registered.

Janneh further highlighted that the ‘Special Operation’ is geared towards curbing the recent surge in crime rate in the country.

It has been recently reported that police statistics reveal that ‘a substantial number of crimes that happened in The Gambia were committed by foreign nationals’.

In response to this, GID conducted ‘Special Operation’ to curb illegal activities committed by undocumented migrants, Janneh said. .

He further added that the operation was conducted at nights and early hours of morning.

However, he said one of their successful raids took place at the University of the Gambia Faraba Campus.

He explained that they arrested 77 undocumented migrants who live on the far edge of the university campus, adding these people only come out at night to engage in dubious activities.

He added most of the arrestees live in uncompleted buildings and on the outskirts of town.

He said the operation will continue in other regions. Meanwhile, he calls on the public to report undocumented migrants residing either in their compounds or communities.

Janneh said GID will continue to raid and arrest people who are illegally residing in the country.

He also added that Gambians who employ or host undocumented migrants will also face the law.

‘It is our responsibility as landlords and alkalos to ensure migrants who came to our homes and communities are documented. That’s what the law said,’ he said.

The Commissioner of Kanifing Municipality, Commissioner Kujabi said they have initially arrested 313 individuals, but 11 were Gambians who were later identified and released.

However, Kujabi said they are facing challenges in locating migrants in the country due to poor addressing system.

He calls on local government to establish proper addressing systems that can help to locate people when the need arises.

He also highlighted that GID is facing resource constraints. GID has only nine posts throughout the country.

He calls on government and partners to have more border posts for documenting migrants.

Commissioner of Processing, Essa Jawara said the porousness of Gambia’s borders is continuing to aid the illegal entry of migrants in the country.

‘But we won’t relent to do our work and arrest these people, and also the people who host or employ undocumented migrants which is illegal,’ he said.

He calls on migrants who want to stay and work in the country to go and get their documents from GID.