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Senegal migrant shipwreck: 'They dreamt of helping their parents out of poverty'

The friend of one victim cries on the beach from which the sunken canoe set sail, in Senegal's center east.   -  
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Africanews / Johnson Wahany Sambou


The mood is heavy in this family who lost one of its children. Their young boy is one of the victims of the sinking of a long wooden fishing vessel, known as a pirogue, that was spotted Monday off Cape Verde’s coasts.

The bad news came one month after the vessel had set sail. A month of agony for the villagers and this bereaved mother.

"With their phones, these young people see what's going on elsewhere and dream of helping their parents out of poverty," Arame Diene says.

"My son decided to leave because he wanted to help us. We was our main provider and we've lost him."

The village of Fasse Boye has become the new face of the tragedy of clandestine emigration. This fishing village in Senegal's centre-east paid a heavy price with the death of over 70 young people. Their canoe set sail for Europe on early July with about one hundred people on board.

Young men have gathered on the beach from which the sunken canoe set sail. 

The moment of reverence to honour their friend was tinged with bitterness and anger towards president Macky Sall and fisheries deals signed under him with the E.U among other partners.

"We live in a difficult situation. You wake up in the morning and your father or mother asks you for 5,000 francs, but you can't find it. It's maddening!," a young man exclaims.

"That's why young people risk their lives in the pirogues. Macky Sall has sold our sea to foreign boats that tire us out. My dead friend will not be more worthy than me. If I can find a pirogue this very evening, I'll get on board. I can't stay here any longer."

The Interior ministry was also heavily criticized. When contacted, the ministry did not respond to Africanews' interview request. 

However, it told local media that it was working to repatriate the survivors as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, Fass Boye mourns its children.

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