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Sidy Sarr. Salvador Salas
Sidy Sarr, asylum applicant in Malaga: 'I fled Senegal after receiving death threats'
Migration

Sidy Sarr, asylum applicant in Malaga: 'I fled Senegal after receiving death threats'

He emigrated to Valencia years ago and with his savings went back home to open a business that was burned down in 2022. Persecuted and fearign for his life due to the socio-political situation in Senegal, he came back to Spain on a small boat

C. Vallejo

Malaga

Friday, 28 June 2024, 11:02

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The story of 50-year-old Sidy Sarr is similar to those of many other Senegalese who have been leaving their country since 2021. Protests, persecutions, changes of government, violence, assassinations and imprisonment are the day-to-day life of the population.

"My problem was the death threats against me," Sarr explained. The clothes business he had there, which supported him, his wife and their five daughters, was burned down in 2022.

It was his wife who encouraged him to leave because of his fear of being killed. First he sought refuge in a neighbouring country and then, from Dakar, the capital of Senegal, he embarked alone, without friends or family, on a boat that took him to the Canary Islands, from where he went to Cadiz and from there to Malaga. His family stayed in Senegal because the persecution was strictly against him for his political involvement.

He speaks hesitant but decent Spanish. This is not his first time in this country. Years ago he came to work in Spain, in Valencia, to gather savings that helped him to set up his business in Senegal, the one that was later burnt down.

That is why he cannot return to his country: he has lost his livelihood. And, above all, because he still fears that if he returns, they will come looking for him again to kill him.

His story of flight has had a great personal cost for Sidy Sarr. Although he came to Spain in the autumn of 2023, he has not seen his daughters for almost two years. What's more, in April his wife died and he was unable to say goodbye to her.

He is now in the process of having his refugee status recognised, In other words, he is applying for international protection and is waiting for the paperwork to go through. In the meantime, he is studying at adult school. And he is calm, which is the most important thing, after years of fleeing his persecutors and fearing death at any moment: "Spain is a safe, calm country. There is a lot of peace. I feel safe. I'm fine now. I want to stay," he said. He does not know whether it will be in Malaga or elsewhere in Spain, but he promises he wants to bring his five daughters with him.

Sidy Sarr's first migration to Spain was for economic reasons and he was able to return home with savings a few years later. The second has been to save his life, but this one is not yet secure.

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