By Biran Gaye
Rescue teams in Cape Verde have recovered eighty eight migrants including dozens of Gambians from a canoe that was adrift, off this Island country in the Atlantic Ocean. However, two others aboard the vessel died, according to the Cape Verde News Agency’s Inforpress reports of Sunday 15th January 2023.
According to Cape Verdean authorities in Praia, the migrants come from Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone and that the canoe they were travelling in. They left Gambia over three weeks ago and ran out of fuel.
When contacted to shed light on the Gambian nationals involved in the said irregular migration, Musa Camara, the Director of Diaspora and Migration Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the incident as ‘tragic and unfortunate for the victims’.
“The boat which was reported to be in distress off the coast of Cape Verde, involved twenty six Gambians who had left for the illegal route to Europe. The Gambian Mission in Bissau which is the overseer of consular service of the country in Cape Verde, is coordinating efforts with Cape Verdean authorities to ensure the safety of survivors,” Director Camara told Foroyaa.
“Some of them have experienced dehydration and as a result, were taken to hospital while others were accommodated in government-run facilities as the Gambian Mission intensified its efforts in meeting the welfare of survivors,” he said. In addition, Camara said one Gambian national died aboard the vessel before they were rescued. He added that most of the rescued migrants were being accommodated in a government facility by the Cape Verdean authorities.
“As the Gambian Mission in Bissau leads diplomatic efforts in collaboration with IOM, government will process these survivors so that they will repatriate them back to the country as soon as possible,” he said.
Cape Verde, a former Portuguese archipelago located around 600 kilometres off the coast of West Africa, is now an independent republic and unlike the Canary Islands, is not part of the European Union.