3 girls drown at Mandinaba, 6 still missing at Tanji Sea

Monday, March 05, 2018

Three young girls have been confirmed death after they drowned in a river in Kombo East village of Mandinaba when 11 of them went to the river to fetch fuel wood Saturday evening. Two of the bodies have been recovered and laid to rest at the Mandinaba Cemetery as search mission continued for the third one.

Rescuers spent Saturday night in search of the dead bodies in the river but were able to recovered Alimatou Jallow, 11, on Saturday and Satou Jammeh, 10, early Sunday morning. The oldest among them, Maimuna Jammeh, a sister to Satou Jammeh was missing and suspected dead.

The Gambia Fire and Rescue Services public relations officer, Muhammed Drammeh, also confirmed the missing of seven fishermen at Tanji Sea since Friday but only one among them has been recovered and found dead. Rescue teams were in sea searching for the rest of the six men who are also believed to be dead.

Sometime 20 years ago, a teenager boy from Mandinaba’s neighbouring village Serrekundanding died in the Mandinaba River following some of his friends during the month of Ramadan. Two years later, another two girls including Mandinaba imam’s daughter died in the same river when they went there to find sea food.

Family sources said ten of the girls with one boy went to the river on Saturday to fetch fuel wood but Jawneh Jallow, a Navy officer and father of Alimatou Jallow said it never occurred to both him and his wife to send their children to fetch fuel wood from the river.

Lamin Jammeh, a step father of the late Satou and Maimuna Jallow said the two teenagers moved to Mandinaba from Brikama Missira less than three weeks. He said the incident was only designed by Allah because at their home, they never used mangrove as fuel wood.

“Five of my children were involved in the incident and one of them died,” Jawneh Jallow told our reporter on Sunday. He said he was at work in Banjul and received a call that his aunt’s husband had passed away and when he took permission from his boss to attend the funeral at Sinchu Alagie, he was called again to be informed about the Mandinaba incident.

Mandinaba elders have been warning parents to prevent their children from going to the river considering its past devastating death incidences but children still remain adamant on frequent visit to the river especially during the month of Ramadan.

“We went to pullout our fishing net from the river and heard the children screaming and when we went to find out, we saw some of them on the river bank,” Lamin Duwa Colley, one of the elders in Mandinaba who regularly go fishing in the river said.

Mr. Colley said the children told them that they went to fetch fuel wood from the river but they were taken by high tide and three of them couldn’t escape it. “We crossed the net in the river and recovered Alimatou’s body. People have spent the whole of Saturday and Sunday searching but only two of the bodies have been recovered.”

Author: Amadou Jallow