Gassama, who was speaking recently at the coastal village of Tanjeh, said: “GID will be left with no option than to charge migrant smugglers with murder if any boat should capsize at sea, or attempted murder if the boat hasn’t departed yet.”
It would be recalled that recently over 20 young Gambians lost their lives in their attempt to sail to the Canary Islands to Spain with many other boats carrying Gambian migrants missing.
“We are now doing everything possible in ensuring that we stop them from embarking on this perilous journey especially in controlling the area where they normally depart,” Gassama said. “But in most of the cases, when we control this area, the smugglers will then divert their operation to other areas. However, the good thing is that we have now detected all those places.”
The smugglers, he went on, are the ones benefiting financially and causing the loss of lives to so many young Gambians.
Babucarr Janneh, the Commissioner of Operation of the GID, calls on Gambians and non-Gambian to work closely with the GID in stamping out the menace of the back-way journey via the sea.
“Of recent, we were even informed about a possible departure of a migrant boat by a non-Gambian, which led to its interception. We are urging the public to help us with information anytime they suspect a particular movement. This will go a long way in saving lives and property,” he posited.
Explaining the recent interception which occurred within the country’s coastal area, GID deputy PRO Inspector Muhammad Bah said: “The interception took place in Gunjur at around 1 a.m. where 25 intended migrants who were to sail to Canary Islands were intercepted.”
Preliminary investigation into the matter, Bah added, revealed that each of the intended migrants paid an amount of Twenty-five thousands dalasis (D25,000). “Among the 25 intended migrants, two of them were non-Gambians – one Ivorian national and one Sierra Leonean national, with three females as part of the 25 intended migrants,” the PRO said.
The GID Operation Zero Departure which was launched recently, he added, will be patrolling the coastal areas with the objective of detecting any possible movement of migrants.