BANJUL A hundred and sixty 9 Gambian migrants returned home on Tuesday, following journeying throughout the Sahara in harsh conditions only to get caught in Libya, most in jails significantly shorter of their meant vacation spot in Europe.
The were being typically young men in their 20s, the principal demographic of African economic migrants looking for a greater existence overseas, but also some females and youngsters.
Seeking visibly exhausted, they stepped off a jet at the airport in Banjul, the palm-fringed seaside capital of the tiny West African country, then stuffed out types they had been given for unexpected emergency passports.
Most of the dozen or so Gambian migrants interviewed by Reuters had been absent for extra than a 12 months. The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) and Gambian federal government aided release them from detention facilities in Tripoli and somewhere else.
European governments are having difficulties to obtain a reaction to the move of migrants over the Mediterranean from Libya, and the appalling conditions in detention camps run by traffickers or the Libyan federal government.
As Lamin Korita, 26, waited in a black keep track of accommodate with the hood raised to fill out his papers, he was glad to have ended a 13-month journey that bought him arrested in Tripoli. He had wished to make it to Italy and obtain get the job done there.
“It is a aid to be home,” he said, even though he wasn’t confident what he would do now without competencies and in a region with number of employment.
For other individuals, the trauma of their ordeal remained raw.
“Libya was horrible for us. There was no peace. Men and women hit me, they utilised sticks towards me like I was an animal,” said Modou Badjie, 27, a former Gambian soldier who said he was beaten by bandits in Libya and ended up in a crammed migrant camp in Tripoli.
Experienced both of them created it additional, the journey would have become still extra perilous. A rubber boat packed with migrants final month on the way to Italy sank in the Mediterranean. The presumed sole survivor, a 16-12 months-old Gambian boy, explained to rescuers he believed all other passengers drowned.
(Reporting by Edward McAllister Producing by Tim Cocks modifying by Grant McCool)