A large number of Gambian migrants in Italy could face mass deportation after a crackdown by the Italian immigration officials. 

Many undocumented Gambian migrants were arrested and taken into custody over the weekend according to reports reaching Gambiana. 

Ousman Touray, an undocumented Gambian migrant, told Gambiana on Saturday from his detention centre in Italy that: “we were arrested because of documents issues and we face deportation.”

He added: “We are detained in Gradisca.31. via Udine deportation camp in a deep forest where Italian (government) used to detain their notorious criminals and even if one escapes here, it will take you five days before you can reach a village. It’s possible that you might even die before seeing a village for sanctuary.”

According to him, Italian police have launched series of operations targeting migrants especially African migrants. He said they were not treated well by the Italian police adding “even if one is sick one wouldn’t have proper medication from them”.

The immigration raids and crackdowns have affected the Gambian migrant communities in Italy and Germany where many travelled to in 2011 at the height of the ’backway’ crisis. Many who fled the Jammeh dictatorship are now in limbo after their asylum claims were rejected following the change of government in 2017. 

The Gambia government has been accused of signing a secret deal with the EU to deport undocumented Gambians.

But government however denied the allegations, claiming that they are in negotiations with the EU to safeguard and protect the interest of Gambians living in Europe.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba 

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