Gambia blocks EU deportation flights

Source: BBC News

The Gambia has formally blocked flights bringing migrants deported from the European Union, the AFP news agency reports.

Gambian foreign ministry spokesman Saikou Ceesay told AFP large numbers of returning migrants would cause “social upheaval“.

“We are trying to consolidate the peace, stability and democracy we have in this country,” he said.

The news came as Germany was preparing to expel a number of Gambians, AFP says.

Many young Gambians leave for Europe in search of better economic opportunities.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) more than 35,000 arrived there between 2014 and 2018 – often taking dangerous journeys over the Mediterranean.

The IOM says overseas remittances of an estimated 118,000 Gambians living abroad account for more than 20% of the country’s GDP.

The blocking of deportation flights comes ahead of a presidential election in December – the first since Yahya Jammeh went into exile after 22 years in power.

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