FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

27 November 2012

Gambian Migrants in Morocco Need Protection

Gambia migrants based in Morocco have alleged degrading treatment in the hands of Moroccan police.

Thousands of youths from West Africa including Gambians have fallen prey to Moroccan security forces while they attempt entry to Spain.

Located in North Africa with a soaring population of 32 million - with forty percent making up the country's illiterate rate, with an area of 446,550 km², is about eight miles away from Spain -the closest African nation to the European country.

Led by King Mohammed VI, the North African country is a transit destination for thousands of African migrants in pursuit of better lives heading to Spain. The increase in migrants stopping in Morocco en route to Spain has led border police to take up rigid security measures leading to abuse of African immigrants.

Gambia migrants, part of the travelling number of Africans targeting economic crisis hit Spain, have bemoaned severe manhandling by security personnel of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The situation has gotten worse with securities routinely rounding up Gambians and other immigrants - who had managed a temporary stay -and take them to the Algerian border where they have to trek on foot for more than twenty kilometers to reach safe haven, an impeccable source disclosed to Foroyaa Newspaper.

Part of degrading atrocities meted out on them by police, our source adds; travelers in their numbers are made to queue up and be battered at the barbed wired border post.

"Some of the Gambians were seriously beaten by the police. A friend of mine who was apprehended by the police was seriously tortured, we thought he would die. One Senegalese boy lost his leg while he was being chased down by the police"

Enumerating further, sources said migrants are indiscriminately arrested, put behind bars without deportation and their pictures bizarrely taken by migrant forces", another migrant who gave his name only as 'Omaro, a native of Badibou Illiasa lamented. He continued "The kind of job here is business, sometime one can get a construction job but you know most of the immigrants are living in the bush in the thick forest for that matter not in the town. The victims are making a plea for assistance from the government.

Elucidating, distraught Gambians complained of discrimination while their colleagues are preferentially treated mainly to the intervention of their respective states.

Recently, a colossal figure of 226 Gambian youths have returned from Libya amid claims of maltreatment.

Gambian Immigration Public Relation Officer Ensa Jawara said his Department is unaware of Gambian migrants' ordeals in Morocco but promises to make findings regarding the issue.

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