Dozens of survivors have returned to Barra on Monday afternoon to an emotional welcome following the vessel accident that killed at least 62 Gambians including eleven women.
Dozens of survivors returned to Barra on Monday afternoon to an emotional welcome following the vessel accident that killed at least 62 Gambians including eleven women.
The accident reportedly occurred off the coast of Mauritania last Wednesday and also claimed several Senegalese citizens from communities near the South Gambian border.
The survivors were driven to Barra from Senegal by bus service through the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Relatives gathered in front of Barra police station in their numbers to witness the arrival of their loved ones. Although there was no confrontation, various security officers were seen on the ground conducting crowd control. ECOMIG forces were also seen hovering around the vicinity.
As the families waited, some decided to leave the police station because they received word that some of the survivors decided to alight at the entrance of the village and walk into their homes – to avoid the public at the police station.
The few people that remained at the police station were able to witness the arrival of one bus of survivors. The bus parked right before the police station where they crowd stood and the waiting crowd rushed to the alighting passengers embracing them as they stepped off the bus.
“Allahu Akbar! [God is great!] Welcome back home,” exclaimed a young man, believed to be one of the relatives, as he tightly hugged a survivor before boarding a waiting yellow taxi to go to his house.
“We are here because we want to see who survived. We still don’t really have the complete information about that,” Ebrima, a family member, told The Chronicle before the arrival of the bus.
The town of Barra is visibly in a state of shock given that most of the migrants were from there. The Chronicle visited the families of some migrants who lost their lives in the catastrophic incident and will publish an in depth report on the heartbreaking situation.