'We will reach spain, or we will die' - “backway” migrant
As the “backway” migration route to Spain reaches fever pitch, one Gambian migrant was matter-of-fact when their wooden canoe was last Thursday (2nd November) chased and intercepted by the Senegalese coastguard off the coast of Senegal, reports Info Migrants.
The canoe which was carrying would-be migrants mainly from Gambia bound for the Canary Islands in Spain included a new born baby, according to Reuters.
After their boat was intercepted by the Senegalese patrol boat ‘Walo’ and taken back to Senegal, the migrants were defiant with one of them shouting "You think you’re going to stop us? We’re going back! We will reach Spain, or we will die," according to a Reuters reporter who witnessed the Senegalese coastguard operation, reported Info Migrant.
"Their boat would not have survived this. It is our duty to save them," the Walo’s commander told the news agency.
Another officer said the Walo had intercepted about 4,000 migrants since it launched operations in August.“ says Info Migrant.
According to the same source, “ Four migrants have died and more than 730 others have been rescued from boats in the Atlantic Ocean off the Canary Islands over the past few days.
On Friday evening (November 3), Spanish authorities said they had intercepted two boats carrying a total of 254 people. A third boat carrying 238 people was intercepted at dawn on Saturday and a fourth vessel carrying 247 people was intercepted on Saturday morning.”
Gunjur and other coastal settlements in the Gambia have seen a surge in the number of young men, women and children taking the perilous journey onboard handmade wooden canoes to enter Spain for greener pastures.
According to sources close to agents of the boat owners who arrange these trips, migrants are charged D50,000 (£600) for the journey which continue to cost lives.
Last week, two young people from Gunjur died as they attempt to enter Spain onboard the canoe that departed the shores of Gunjur. This came on the hills of a boatload that has gone missing from Gunjur and another that got stranded in Senegal, but later returned to Gunjur when their boat got lost and ended up in a Senegalese fishing village called Kayari.
November 8th 2023 (tomorrow) marks two years when a boatload of would-be migrants went missing and none of the occupants of the boat have been seen or heard from. The boat was believed to have carried over two hundred young men and women, nearly forty of them are from Gunjur.