President Barrow Said Boat Accident “a National Tragedy”
State House, Banjul, 7th November 2019 – In an address to the nation, President Adama Barrow bemoaned the boat accident involving Gambians off the coast of Mauritania as “a national tragedy” that requires criminal investigation.
“To lose 60 lives at sea is a national tragedy and a matter of grave concern to my government. A full Police Investigation has been launched to get to the bottom of this serious national disaster.
The culprits will be prosecuted according to law,” he said, disclosing that the latest information gathered thus far puts the number of deaths at 60.
The President expressed heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families as the entire nation goes through what he described as a “most painful life experience.”
“Although we are still gathering information about the identities of the victims, what is clear as of now, is that the boat that capsized originated from Barra, North Bank Region, carrying more than 150 men and women,” he stated.
The government’s response has been swift with a team of high-level officials been mobilised immediately. They are tasked with unraveling the facts of the matter, provide background information on the victims as well as investigate the circumstances leading to the tragedy.
“For the purpose of rapid response to such situations, my government has already established a National Centralised Coordinating Centre comprising Cabinet Ministers, heads of security agencies, critical stakeholders and specialised institutions mandated to deal with such emergencies,” the president added.
A high-level government delegation has been dispatched to Mauritania to work with local
authorities and the Gambian Embassy staff in Nouadhibou city in Mauritania, where the incident happened. They will provide support to the victims and participate in recovery efforts.
As a way forward, President Barrow said advocacy efforts against irregular migration and the associated dangers will be reinforced in order to encourage youths to use legal, acceptable means to travel outside The Gambia.