A hundred and sixty-nine Gambian migrants on Tuesday returned home, after journeying across the Sahara in harsh conditions only to get stuck in Libya, most in jails far short of their intended destination in Europe.
The migrants were mostly young men in their 20s, seeking a better life abroad, among them were also some women and children.
“They (in Libya) shoot people in the leg. They shoot people in the head, they shoot people everywhere. They kill you zero, like a dog. They value a dog more than a black. They a very tough guys there, its very easy there for them,” said one of the migrants, Faramou Keita.
They (in Libya) shoot people in the leg. They shoot people in the head, they shoot people everywhere. They kill people like a dog. They value a dog more than blacks.
“Tonight I will be celebrating, thanks god, as for some of my friends, who lost their lives in front of me, some of my friends they are wounded, they are shot. So as for me, I had nothing, only beaten, so the pain now is cured,” said another migrant, Moulou Badjie.
Most of the Gambian migrants interviewed by Reuters had been gone for more than a year. The International Organisation of Migration and Gambian government helped release them from detention centers in Tripoli and elsewhere.
“We feel a degree of satisfaction, because you know, they were in danger, and we made that they come back home safely. And today we are witnessing their arrival, and its good thing,” A Regular Immigration officer, Foday Gassama said.
European governments are struggling to find a response to the flow of migrants over the Mediterranean from Libya, and the appalling conditions in detention camps run by traffickers or the Libyan government.