Gambia

How Chinese Fishmeal Factories Leave Gambia Hungry

GUNJUR Edrissa Sackh stands on Gunjur beach, a small frown developing on his face as he mends his net. The remote Gambian fishing town of 25,000 people overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean is where Sackh, 31, has been fishing for 16 years. "They are taking the fish," he says with bated breath, pointing toward two Chinese mechanized fishing vessels in the sea. "Right now there are no fish and we need fish."

A few inches away, his small hand-painted wooden canoe sits idle. Strong winds mean "there can be no fishing today," he explains. But the trawlers he sees in the distance can handle such weather. "Their boats are big industrial ones, not like ours."

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Spotlight: In Africa, Elections Reveal Democrats And Despots

-OpEd-

When President Yahya Jammeh accepted electoral defeat in the tiny west African nation of Gambia two weeks ago, voters and democracy advocates alike cheered. Jammeh, who once claimed a "billion-year" mandate and has been in power for 22 years, was finally vacating his throne.

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Gambia, Where Refugees Are A Cruel Dictator's Business Opportunity

This African country produces more refugees per capita than any other. But there is method to the madness: Gambia's dictator systematically banishes people and refuses to accept repatriation agreements. And he receives European funds for his services.

GUNJUR — The first steps on the path from Gambia to Europe lead to a tiny room, where Imam Kawsu Touray receives his clients while seated on the floor between a bed and wardrobe. A picture on the wall depicts the Kaaba in Mecca and Touray's alarm clock is in the shape of a mosque. No one in the village of Gunjur dares to use the "back way" — a term for the dangerous journey from Gambia through Senegal, Mali, Niger and Libya to Europe — without the spiritual advice of this thin and very old man with the white beard.

Touray is eating a quick snack of fish curry as he awaits the impending arrival of his next client, who wants to flee from Gambia.

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