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by John Doe
Created 20 Sep, 2020 | usa
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He had hoped to be in Europe by now, pursuing his dreams of studying computer science and making a better life for himself.
Instead, he was sitting in a Libyan detention center, having been detained in Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard. "We were kept in rooms with little ventilation and no toilets. We would sit for days without taking baths. It was like hell," Sallah told CNN.
He added that officers at the detention center often assaulted them by "beating us for the slightest things like refusing to sleep."
It was January 2017, and the 25-year-old Gambian had taken a gamble, risking his life in search of a better one in Europe. But no one had warned him of the dangers ahead.
If and when he got out of the detention center, he vowed to help others make a more informed decision.
Migrating to Europe
Sallah grew up in Serekunda, southwest of The Gambia's capital city, Banjul. He said he worked hard in school to earn a scholarship so that his mother could retire from her job selling vegetables in the market.
In 2016, he thought he'd have that chance when he earned a scholarship to study computer science in Taiwan. "But there was no Taiwan embassy in Gambia, so I had to go to the closest one in Abuja, Nigeria," he explained.
After borrowing money from his sister to travel to Nigeria, he said he spent three months there before his visa application was denied. Three years earlier, then-president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, had cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan for what he called "national strategic interest."
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