Migrant boat

At least 21 Gambians from Bakau have died of acute hunger in a migrant boat bound for Spain. 

The tragic incident has left the nation in shock as families and relatives come to terms with their loss of loved ones. 

There has been a rise in the number of Gambians, mostly men and boys, travelling through the perilous backway route to Europe for greener pastures, as unemployment rate hits a record-breaking high.

Baba Dibba, a step father to one of the victims, described the mass deaths as “devastating and shocking”, as he urged the government to help youths with jobs and job creation to address the mass exodus to Europe through the sea.

“Bakary Dibba was a son to me. He left a wife behind. He was a disciplined and respectful young man. He was committed to his work. We are appealing to Barrow to help support the young people of the country with jobs and job creation in order to address this backway journey,” he said.

Ramou Nyass-Ndow, who also lost a relative, described the incident as “a gigantic loss to the country, especially the victims’ families.

“Ndow was a disciplined boy, but this is what God destined for him. This is very sad to us and it’s not easy to take it, but we live everything in the hand of God. Almost every two compounds you walk pass, you will find a family mourning.”

Kemo Bojang, a Bakau resident also said: “we’ve lost a lot of young people today, most of them our friends and people we grew up with.”

According to him, the boat reached Spain but unfortunately ran out of supplies and a lot of them couldn’t stand the starvation and died on the way.

“Always remember my brothers, who embarked on a perilous journey seeking hope and a better future but, tragically, never completed it. Their stories, struggles, and dreams will forever be a somber reminder of the urgent need to address corruption, impunity, justice, and the need to fight for the people that really matter. For all of us who have been tasked to steer the affairs of this country, I hope we reflect before we sleep on how we have failed these young people,” he added.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba 

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