President Adama Barrow has pledged to punish people smugglers following the deaths of 63 Gambian migrants off the coast of Mauritania on Wednesday.

The president in a state broadcast yesterday said a police investigation has been launched to identify and prosecute the people involved for the tragic incident.

“A full police investigation has been launched to get to the bottom of this serious national disaster. The culprits will be prosecuted according to law,” he said.

The victims

“As part of efforts to tackle human trafficking, government has taken renewed measures to strengthen the National Authority for Trafficking in Persons under the Ministry of Justice to effectively execute its mandate.
Government will provide additional support to the Attorney General’s Chambers to fast track prosecution of cases involving human trafficking.

“Law enforcement officials are also instructed to increase surveillance and arrest, for diligent prosecution of criminals involved in human trafficking.”

The president expressed his condolences to the bereaved families and said the deaths of the Gambian migrants was a “national tragedy”.

He said: “To lose 60 young lives at sea is a national tragedy and a matter of grave concern to my government.”

The president disclosed that his government had sent funds and personnel to Mauritanian to support the survivors in hospital and to fund their repatriation.

At least 63 Gambian migrants drowned off the Mauritanian coast on Wednesday when the boat carrying them to Spain’s Canary Islands capsized.

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