Gunjur missing migrants: Search mission team arrives in Mauritania, files first report
The search mission team for the missing migrants from Gunjur and other parts of the Gambia have arrived in Mauritanian Capital of Nouakchott.
Below we reproduce, verbatim, report filed by the search team as they work hard to establish the whereabouts of the 200 missing migrants who left the shores of Gunjur over a year ago.
Engagement on 5th December 2022
The search mission had their first engagement at The Gambia Cultural Center and English School where we met the principal and PTA Chairman of the institution (Mr Minteh and Badjie respectively). This Gambian based institution is the Gambian national house for migrants to some extent because most stranded Gambians were temporarily housed in these classrooms. The principal Mr Fabala Kinteh took us through the steps they also took upon themselves in search of these missing Gunjur migrants. He spoke to us at length on how he engages some of his friends who are serving members of the Mauritanian security forces about the missing migrants from Gunjur.
It's important to note that, Mr kinteh himself is also a victim in the sense that he also lost his son in-law in this same incident (Lamin Saho husband to Awa Kinteh) (He emphatically made it clear that he has always been consulted on any issue that has to do with migration (just as of last week a boat carrying about 14/15 fishermen capsized but they were not Gambians. He emphasized that the migrants we are searching for were not in Mauritania, however he's not relenting in the search for them as he continually engages the Mauritanian police through the police (PRO) Ousman Badgie (a long time resident of Naouchott who has been residing in Mauritania for the past two decades on his part said, Mauritania's for the part said.... Mauritanians hardly detain for long and would usually drop them off the border with sengal. The institution affirmed their commitment and promised to work with us in getting information about these missing migrants and promised to continue to engage Gambian Association in Mauritania to find information about these missing migrants.
We shared contacts and other relevant information and later directed us to Gambian residents within the area for a one to one meeting with them. The team also had a lengthy discussion with Senegalese, Gambians for similar engagement, the people have been living in Naukhchott for over two years and they also affirmed to us that they had no news about missing migrants from Gunjur. Our second engagement of the day (yesterday) was with the fishermen at Naukhchott Fish landing site. The team engaged the fishermen (most of whom were Senegalese-Mauritanians) and had been fishing all through their lives, on information regarding the fate of the missing migrants from Gunjur. Musa Gaye (Mauritian born Senegalese fisherman) explained in detail, the unforeseen circumstances that happened in high seas, According to him there is 50-50 chance there boat could have been blown by the current to an area (island) hard to reach or their are also possibilities where they might have all drowned and non of this remains of remnants of the boat they were traveling to be found (speaking from experience). He cited instances where fishermen left the shores and never returned. Njol, a Senegalese fisherman based in Nouakchott on his part mentioned that there are occasions when they are usually involved on rescuing migrants or stranded fishermen at sea, however, he hasn't had any information about the Gunjur migrants.
The team couldn't further engage other fishermen at the site because of the unpredictable behaviors of Mauritanian security forces. We even had to be advised by the Senegalese fishermen to be careful who to engage on the subject matter otherwise the authorities at the beach can even arrest us, but bound by persistence and the need to gather information about our missing migrants, we were able to speak to a few Senegalese and they all made it clear that they never came across this missing boat from Gunjur.
The search team to Mauritania include Omar A Manjang - Youth Parliamentarian for Kombo South Constituency, Malick Jammeh - a former student in Mauritania, and Thomas J.R Gomez - Chief Superintendent of Police.