By Mustapha Jallow
Ebrima Sankareh, the government spokesperson has on 11th December, said there were some Police officers, soldiers and Fire services officers who died at sea when a boat carrying migrants capsized off the coast of Mauritania.
He remarked, “It is not about unemployment, but you have employed people with wives and children who also perished in the accident.”
He made this statement during a visit to the victim families in Barra, with a delegation including the tourism minister, interior minister, information minister, agriculture minister and other officials.
He added, “So, is not only about unemployment, but is the perception that in Europe you can have everything automatically and that’s not true.”
According to Sankareh, The Gambia government has set aside some amount of money which is meant for the charity of those who died in the boat accident.
“We have package of one hundred and four thousand Dalasis (104, 000) to give to the victim families, this includes 150 bags of rice for their funeral,” he said.
He continued that five hundred thousand Dalasis (5, 00, 000) was dispatched on Friday through the ministry of finance to the embassy in Mauritania to help those who were admitted in hospitals. He added that this covered their feeding and medical upkeep.
“Police and army officers who were supposed to be protectors of the law were in the centre of this violation,” he explained.
“This is illegal and is called illegal ‘migration,” he added.
He continued to say that people who died at the sea are normally buried at the sea side.
“It is not that government said they should be buried there, no. But most of the bodies were decomposed. Therefore, you cannot bring the decomposed bodies. You need a lot of facilities to do all that,” he further explained.
The Gambian government is investigating everything, he said. “We are looking into how the boats left here, the people who were in the boats, women, children, police officers and soldiers were there,” he added.
“There are reports that six boats left. One capsized, the other one was intercepted and probably others are in hiding,” he said.