EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Gambia government has confirmed that 52 of its citizens have died in a perilous boat accident in the Atlantic Ocean along the Mauritanian sea, while several others who escaped are receiving care.
In a statement from the presidency on Thursday, the government said it is with great sadness that it learn of the tragic boat accident off the coast of Mauritania that claimed the lives of many Gambians. “President Adama Barrow has earlier been briefed that the boat originated from Barra, North Bank Region, and fifty-two (52) Gambians lost their lives whiles eighty (80) others survived,” the stamen said.
Earlier Thursday morning, United Nations migration agency –IOM- reported the incident, saying the boat carrying migrants that left The Gambia a week ago have capsized.
The boat is said to have been carrying an estimated 150 migrants and got stank as it approached the coast of Mauritania on Wednesday. Eighty-three others, including two women and at least 10 minors who managed to swim to shore are receiving medical assistance.
Gambia government said it is working with the United Nations International Organization for Migration –IOM- and will dispatch a delegation to Mauritania at the earliest possible time to investigate and gather more information on the accident. “President Barrow expresses heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and prays for the departed souls to Rest in Peace.”
The vessel is said to have left The Gambia last Wednesday bound for the Canary Islands when it ran low on fuel, IOM Mauritania Chief of Mission Laura Lungarotti says.
“At the moment, access to migrants is limited as they are recovering from the shock and under the protection of the authorities,” IOM Mauritania Chief of Mission Laura Lungarotti says. She said IOM staff are supporting the medical response by providing first aid kits, blankets and other supplies.
Several Gambians who run from the country to chase after greener pasture in Europe and other Western nations have lost their lives in the sea while scores are still determined to go.
Government of the tiny West African nation is facing daunting challenges in convincing its young people to stay in the country in a struggling economy that was plunged into bankruptcy during the rule of the former military dictator Yahya Jammeh.