The Gambia government recently claimed it has imposed a moratorium on the deportation of Gambians from Germany due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, a document seen by this reporter from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dakar, Senegal informs the EU delegation in Banjul of its intention to repatriate 25 Gambians.
“The Embassy wishes to inform the esteemed Delegation about the German authorities intention to operate a non-scheduled flight on 3 March 2021 to arrive at the Banjul International Airport on 4 March 2021,” an official statement from the German Embassy in Dakar reads.
It continued: “With the non-scheduled charter, it is planned to repatriate up to 25 Gambian nationals to The Gambia.”
The embassy further urged the EU delegation in Banjul to request a diplomatic landing clearance from the Gambian authorities for the said flight to land.
It states the German authorities are cognizant of Covid-19 and all preventive measures would be taken during the operation of the flight.
This reporter however, cannot verify the authenticity of this document.
When asked to comment on the imminent deportation by the host of ‘Coffee Time with Peter’ on West Coast Radio on Tuesday, both the Information minister and the government spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.
Information Minister Sillah said, “I’ve also seen the letter so I have not got any particular briefing on this matter so I will wait until I know the issues and then probably get some confirmation from the Foreign Ministry before I can make any comment on this.”
The Government Spokesperson Sankareh added, “To be honest with you Peter, my position about deportations is that I will never ever make a comment about them until and unless the Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefs me, and so I know what I am going to talk about. Because this is a matter that actually transcends the entire length and breadth of the Gambia and is a sensitive issue such that whenever you open your mouth to actually make a report you must have the facts before you.”
He further added the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry should be contacted for any clarification.
It is not clear if the moratorium the government claimed to put in place will prevent this batch of Gambians from repatriation from Germany on 3 March, 2021.
Meanwhile efforts to reach officials of the Foreign Ministry for comments were futile.