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» 11.11.2010 - Gambia coup "only matter of time"
» 27.09.2010 - Gambia Dictator "lied about Obama award"
» 15.07.2010 - Gambian "coup plotters" sentenced to death
» 04.03.2010 - $8 million support for agric production
» 04.03.2010 - Six security officials sacked
» 16.02.2010 - Gambia expels UNICEF envoy
» 07.01.2010 - Kenya deports controversial Muslim cleric
» 19.11.2009 - Gambian president withdraws from Commonwealth meeting

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58 Gambian migrants drowned

afrol News, 13 November - 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.

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