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Mauritania boat wreck: 63 confirmed dead, 47 still missing

In this file photo taken on October 11, 2017, African migrants arrive at a naval base in the Libyan capital Tripoli, after they were rescued from a rubber boat by coastguards off the Libyan coast of Sabratha. (AFP Archive)

At least 63 people involved in a boat wreck off the coast of Mauritania have now been confirmed dead while 47 are still missing.

Gambian authorities said they are in contact with officials of the Gambian Embassy in Nouakchott who are closely working with Regional Mauritanian authorities as well as the International Organisation for Migration and UNHCR to manage the crisis situation on the ground.

“The official correspondence received from the Gambian Embassy in Nouakchott revealed through the survivors that there were 195 people on board and 63 people have now been confirmed dead,” said a release from the foreign ministry.

“There were 13 women and 11 of them died. Investigators are employing different identification techniques such as photos taking of corpses before the burial and using survivors to identify the dead through those photos. This method will help establish the nationalities especially the number of Gambians involved.  The memo also highlighted that 85 people have been rescued and 10 of them are receiving medical care. From the 85 rescued, 78 are Gambians and 7 Senegalese nationals. However, 47 people are still missing.

“The Gambian Ambassador to Mauritania, His Execllency Mawdo C. Juwara and the Honourary Consul held series of meetings with the Governor of Dhahlet Nouadhibou Region with the Regional Security Chiefs on the issue and the need to continue with the search and rescue operations. Rescue or recovery efforts will continue for those missing as well as to find ways and means to offer assistance in terms of medical treatment to those who need medical attention and to provide accommodation and food for the survivors.

“The general public is hereby assured that once the identification is completed, the Gambian Embassy, the Honourary Consulate, Mauritanian Regional Administrative authorities in Nouadhibou, the IOM as well as the UNHCR will continue further medical checkups of the survivors to ascertain their fitness to be repatriated to The Gambia and Senegal.

“In accordance with the directive of His Excellency President Adama Barrow, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs is part of the delegation dispatched by the Government of The Gambia to take part in the investigation and recovery efforts.”

Meanwhile, the Gambian president Adama Barrow has come under serious criticism for continuing with his tour meetings even after the death of these young people were announced.

Critics said Barrow should address the nation and visit Barra and Essau, two communities where most victims came from.

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