Gambia repatriates migrants from Tunisia

Gambia repatriates migrants from Tunisia
After a wave of anti-migrant policies and rhetoric from the Tunisian government, Gambia has evacuated 40 of its citizens from the North African country
2 min read
28 July, 2023
African migrants have faced serious, life-threatening difficulties in Tunisia [Getty]

Gambia has repatriated 40 of its citizens from Tunisia overnight, a day after bringing home another group from Libya, a foreign ministry spokeswoman told AFP on Friday.

The group, who returned to Gambia voluntarily, left Tunisia Thursday evening and arrived in the capital Banjul around 2:00 am (0200 GMT), the spokeswoman said.

The flight had been organised by the government in collaboration with the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM).

On Wednesday, the West African nation had repatriated 87 of its citizens from Libya, the spokeswoman said.

In early July, Human Rights Watch accused Tunisia of expelling hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans to a desert area near the Libyan border following violence against migrants in the city of Sfax.

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In a statement several days later, the Gambian government said it was working to evacuate citizens from the North African country.

Earlier this year, West African nations including Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal repatriated hundreds of citizens from Tunisia amid a wave of racist attacks there.

It followed a tirade by the Tunisian president in February blaming "hordes of illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa" for crime and alleging a "criminal plot" to change the country's demographic make-up.

Gambia said in early July it had repatriated nearly 300 migrants between June 21 and July 4, over half of whom had been stranded in Libya.

The rest had been intercepted on boats in Senegalese, Mauritanian and Moroccan waters.

Neighbouring Senegal on Wednesday repatriated about 50 migrants from Morocco.