Momodou Tangara, the Gambia's Foreign Affairs Minister, on Wednesday told lawmakers that 4837 Gambians are required to leave Germany, adding 25 have been convicted of criminal offences in Germany's state of Baden-Württemberg.
Tangara made this disclosure at the Legislative House in Banjul, while responding to a question raised by member for Brikama South, Lanmin J Sanneh, who asked the Minister to confirm to the Lawmakers the trend of deportation and the status of Gambian refuges.
Minister Tangara explicated: "A joint delegation comprising officials from my Ministry and the Assembly Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, embarked on a fact finding mission in the Federal Republic of Germany, from 9th to 16th February 2019, on matters relating to irregular migration with our German counterparts."
He said: "The delegation was informed by the German Interior Minister that as of 31st December 2019, there were 15,534 Gambians residing in Germany, out of which 4837 are required to leave Germany".
He added: "4271 Gambian have their deportation temporarily suspended, 1133 have applied for asylum, 330 asylum applications are currently being processed by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees of Germany, 4868 are under appeal before the German courts. At the state level of Baden-Württemberg, the Gambian delegation was informed that 25 Gambians have been convicted of criminal offences".
He said following the return of the delegation, a comprehensive report was prepared and submitted to the Office of the President. The delegation also had a meeting with the President, to further brief him on the conclusion of the visit to Germany, Tangara added.
He said that acting on the recommendation of the report, the Office of the President assigned the Foreign Affairs Ministry to work with the relevant stakeholders, to develop a memorandum of understanding in the area of migration between the Gambia and the Federal Republic of Germany.
He said: "Consequently, a draft MoU was developed and circulated to relevant stakeholders. Once this process is completed, the document will be presented to the German authorities, to kick start on the proposed MoU".
Asked to shed light on how soon they expect the MoU to be ready and signed by Banjul and Berlin, Minister Tangara replied, "we have been working closely with the Assembly select committee on Foreign Affairs, we have gone very far and we have decided to include stakeholders (Interior and Justice Ministries and the Office of the Vice President). As we speak, we have received a feedback from the Office of the President and soon we will finalize it".
"Would you inform the Assembly whether the 2500 referred Gambians are in safe condition, whether in the camps or on their own?, asked Sulayman Saho, Member for Baddibu Central.
Tangara replied: "The Gambian Association in Germany is very active in engaging them and from my understanding I don't think that most of them are in camps (I stand to be corrected)."