As part of Europe’s effort for frontline nation’s to enforce tighter border controls, Italy presented 40 new pick up trucks to the Gambia to help curb migration.
The trucks, presented to Gambia’s Minister of Internal Security Mai Ahmad Fatty is meant for use by security forces, specifically the police and immigration.
It is not the first time that Italy and Europe made such presentations to Gambia, which produces the third largest number of arrivals by sea to Europe by per capita, according to recent EU data.
The number has so far dwindled significantly since the ouster of the country’s iron fist ruler, Yahya Jammeh, a regime change that could see many Gambians repatriated.
Gambia has been collaborating with Europe to address the migration crisis and keep its youths at home. It has, however, denied signing any pact that would see the forceful return of its citizens.
“Our concern is that lives are lost along the way. This government wants to do something about it. The evidence of our seriousness is that we are now working to create a migration policy,” said Fatty.
“We have a vested interest in ensuring that conditions that are conducive to keeping our nationals are evolved. The Italians and the Europeans have an interest in ensuring that their borders are safe and people who travel to their country go there through the legal route.”
The European Union has been steadily streaming millions of dollars into the Gambia’s economy, most of it as grants to help the country’s economy recover.
Perpetual poverty is forcing thousands of Gambian youths to embark on the perilous journey, in which hundreds of its citizens have lost their lives.
At least 340 Gambians have been repatriated, most of them from deplorable detention centers in Libya since April – the highest returnees registered in decades with government support.
Gambian migrants have decried conditions and accused European and Libyan authorities of human rights violations and inhumane and unfair treatment.
Europe is reinforcing cooperation with African countries to stem irregular migration and has focused on increasing border controls and stepping up returns.