- It was a journey of no return for 58 of The Gambia's 60 would-be migrant youths who drowned at sea after their patchy boat was engulfed with fire on Friday.
The youths, who began the risky journey in the capital Banjul on Friday, wanted to sail to Europe through Spain's Canary Islands.
One of survivors [Lamin Fatty], a youth in the early 30s, who has since been helping the police in their investigations, said his brother [Musa Fatty] was among the drowned youths. The other survivor, who was in a critical condition, had been rushed to the main referral hospital in Banjul.
Each of the youths paid at US $1,000 to the captain of the boat before they embarked on a perilous and risky journey in which thousands of people lost their lives annually.
Rather looking traumatised, Fatty said the incident occurred when one of the passengers lit a cigarette lighter on an open petrol gallon which then burst into flames, thus leaving them with no option other than jumping into the sea.
A rescue team led by Gambian navy soldiers have so far recovered 8 bodies and ruled out the possibility of any survivor.
Hundred of sad people, including family members and friends of the drowned youths, gathered along the coast desperately waiting for rescuers to inform them.
Over the months, The Gambia government has done all it takes to refrain its youths from travelling to Europe through illegal means. Some deported illegal Gambians were incarcerated in the country's central prison for a month after they landed the country.
The country is also among West African countries that signed illegal immigration cooperation with the Spanish government last year.
However, economic pressures force most Gambian youths to embark on the sea journey to Europe in search of greener pastures.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.