Home Sci-TechEnvironment West Africa: Senegalese Youth Decry Illegal Migration After Surge in Deaths At Sea

West Africa: Senegalese Youth Decry Illegal Migration After Surge in Deaths At Sea

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Unofficial commemoration was spread via social media, where young people criticised government’s response to deadly shipwreck

DAKAR – Young people in Senegal held a national day of mourning on Friday for 140 migrants killed in a shipwreck as they headed to Europe last month, sparking debate about unemployment and migration in the West African country.

Friday’s unofficial commemoration was spread by users of social media, where young Senegalese criticised authorities over their response to the disaster and for failing to deter migration by creating enough jobs at home.

“As a Senegalese youth, I feel crushed,” said Pape Demba, 28, who lives in the capital, Dakar, and organised the day of mourning on Twitter using the hashtag #LeSenegalEnDeuil (“Senegal in mourning”).

He has also created a Twitter account, @221Help, to share job announcements and requests for employment, already managing to help a handful of people find work or internships, he said.

“My objective is really to create a movement to take our future into our own hands, because I don’t want to count anymore on this government which is incapable of creating jobs,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Senegal’s government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There has been a significant rise this year in the number of migrants taking rickety boats from West Africa to the Canary Islands, a Spanish territory, in search of better opportunities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.