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Gambian Jock on the Horrors of the Trek to Europe

Radio host Mustapha Sallah use his show on “Gambia’s most powerful FM radio station” to speak about his experience. Following his own harrowing trip, he’s one of thousands of Gambians who have been flown back from Libya as part of the European Union-funded returns and reintegration program run by the United Nations. Better to nip the migration in the bud, Sallah says, which the 27-year-old is trying to do as co-founder of Youths Against Irregular Migration (YAIM). His 30-minute “YAIM Time” call-in radio show is but one aspect of his group, which also backs skills training initiatives and other work on the ground in the most desperate corners of the country. No one had warned Sallah of the horrors he would encounter in his attempts to reach Europe, and that lack of cautionary tales is why he agreed when fellow Gambian Karamo Keita, whom he met in detention, suggested they set up YAIM so that they could warn others. “We registered 171 young Gambians inside the prison itself,” Sallah says. But that number dwindled to 30 as many became disenchanted back in Gambia when the support promised by the U.N. and EU never materialized.