Inspector Alkali Jammeh, Assistant Head of Operation, Migration Management Unit (GID)
By Buba Gagigo
Inspector Alkali Jammeh, Assistant Head of Operation in the Migration Management Unit at the Gambia Immigration Department (GID), has confirmed the interception of 34 boats this year, with a grim tally of close to or exceeding 50 recorded deaths.
Providing insight into the challenges faced by his unit, Inspector Alkali Jammeh mentioned that they gathered statistics on attempted departures, interceptions, and the return of migrants. Regarding deaths, he explained that they can only account for those occurring within the Gambia, relying on external partners or survivor accounts for incidents outside the country.
“We cannot establish officially how many people have died on this journey. We cannot because there are instances where we had narrations from Migrants that some people misbehave on the boat (witchcraft), they fight and kill each other. In some instances, boats arrived, and they died along the way. Some Gambians died in the desert. So we cannot compile an accurate list as a unit. I can tell you is close to fifty or over fifty Gambians have died this year from irregular migration,” he told Kerr Fatou.
He highlighted a significant increase in departures this year compared to the previous year, citing a stark contrast.
“What happened this year is different from other years. Last year we recorded only two departures (213 people). And out of the 213, 22 were minors. This year we intercepted 27 boats, and we recorded 34 boat arrivals in Spain, Morocco, Senegal, and Mauritania. We are trying to get the exact figure, but I believe is close to five thousand (people) that have arrived. The last calculation we did at the office on the Gambians that departed was around five thousand. Ten percent of them are minors (around 500 minors). This includes women and men. Out of 34 (boats), 22 arrived in the Canary Islands, 4 in Senegal, 4 in Mauritania, 3 in Morocco, and out of that some of them were disasters, some of them arrived in Spain with dead bodies,” he explained.