In spats of raid, the officials of the Gambia Immigration Department (GID) have intercepted 108 people attempting to sail to Canary Island, in Spain.
The first 45 which included five Gambians were intercepted on Friday 10 November 2017, immigration officials confirmed.
Another 58 people who got intercepted barely 48 hours after the first raid included a Guinean national with the rest as Senegalese.
In media briefing at GID's Irregular Migration Unit at Taniji on this development, Superintendent Mamanding S. Dibba, the press and public relations officer of the GID, confirmed that the stated number of youths were intercepted in the Gambian territory with most of them Senegalese.
He said this came as a result of intelligent tip that the officials of the GID had received prior to the raid, informing them about a group of young people planning to embark on an illegal journey to the Canary Island, using the Gambian cores.
He said that the officials acted on this information until Friday when they first raided on 55 youths at a place called Toubakolong, in Niumi, where they planned to assemble to take a small boat that would have carried them to a bigger boat for departure.
"But unfortunately for them, before getting to the bigger boat, they were intercepted by the officials of the GID," says GID spokesperson. He said after intercepting these people, they were all brought to the GID" Illegal Migration Center at Taniji where immigration formalities which included screening were conducted. Their nationalities also revealed.
"We were able to confirm that the first catch 45 people were Senegalese and five of them are Gambians," he said. Based on this, GID has informed the Senegalese authorities in Banjul and they came together with immigration officers to the center at Taniji. He added that currently modalities have been worked out to ferry them to Senegal to reunite them with their families.
According to PRO Dibba, the 5 Gambians have already been released and were expected to reunite with their families.
He also disclosed that apart from the youths, a truck carrying their logistics with food items, barrel of fuels, biscuits and bags of rice were all bought in The Gambia. Small boats were also purchased in the Gambia and were intercepted and impounded.
PRO further stated that the self-imposed ring leader, Sheikh Tijan Jah, who's believed to have facilitated everything in The Gambia, made it very clear to the GID officials that he had masterminded everything and he was in charge of mobilising these groups.
According to the GID spokesperson, the so-called ring leader made all these processes in a place in Senegal called Kayouro.
Immigration officials warned that this was a network and that the people need to be vigilant, while calling on the need for people to close collaboration with the communities.