Gambian national team goalkeeper drowns off Libya


Fatim Jawara

I was in the Gambia. I saw there how much Gambian people love football. There was a match on TV. Not of the Gambian competition, but English Premier League. Still, much interest and enthusiasm.

Now, terrible news.

This video says about itself:

3 November 2016

The 19-year-old goalkeeper of Gambia’s national women’s football team has drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe.

From Bleacher Report:

Gambia Goalkeeper Fatim Jawara Dies Crossing the Mediterranean Sea

By Rory Marsden, Featured Columnist

Nov 3, 2016

Gambia women’s national team goalkeeper Fatim Jawara died last month on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea while she was travelling from Libya to Europe “in the hope of starting a new life.”

She wanted to become a professional player, not possible in the Gambia.

According to AFP (via the Guardian), Jawara, believed to have been 19 years old, left Gambia for Libya in September to attempt to then get to Europe by sea and subsequently died when the boat she was on “ran into trouble in the Mediterranean.”

Per the report, the treacherous crossing has claimed the lives of over 3,300 migrants in 2016, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Jawara’s death was confirmed to the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) by the agent she had paid to help her leave Libya, per John Atuke of Nigerian outlet Vanguard.

Lamin Kaba Bajo, president of the GFF, remarked upon the tragic nature of Jawara’s death, per Atuke:

“I received the news today and it has really shocked me. The young girl is a talent and on the move for greener pastures but the way she died is just shocking … . We at the GFF are very sad about the development and on behalf of the Football Federation, I want to send our condolences to the family of the girl and her former club Red Scorpions.”

Atuke added that she was part of the Gambia squad that were at the Under-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan in 2012 and played for club side Red Scorpions.

Per AFP, her senior debut for the Gambia national team came against a team from Glasgow [in Scotland] a year ago, while the report relayed remarks from Chorro Mbenga, assistant coach of the under-17 side, in which Jawara first emerged: “Her death is untimely, but we will remember her for her great performances on the pitch.”

Ms Jawara managed to stop a penalty kick by the Scottish side.

This 4 November 2016 video commemorates Fatim Jawara.

She will never ever stop penalty kicks again.

Like Somali Olympic athlete Samia Yusuf Omar will never ever run a 200 meter race again. A refugee from her warn-torn country, Ms Omar drowned off the coast of Libya as well.

‘Thank you’, European Union bosses with your ‘Fortress Europe’ policies. You, who are egging on human rights violations against refugees from Italy to Greece to Libya.

‘Thank you’, politicians like Sarkozy in France and Cameron in Britain; who with their ‘humanitarian’ war made Libya a hell for its inhabitants and refugees, and a paradise for violent racists, violent jihadists, torturers and people-smuggling crooks, profiting from the despair of the victims of yet more ‘humanitarian’ wars.

The NATO war opened up in Libya ‘golden’ opportunities for men with racist ideas against people from the Gambia or other African countries. At least, Fatim Jawara survived that. I, and millions of people all over the world, cry that she did not survive the next bloody obstacle to her sportwoman’s dream.

Gambia bans female genital mutilation


This is a video about Ousmane Sembène‘s film Mooladé, against female genital mutilation. Ousmane Sembène is from Senegal.

Good news now from a country bordering on Senegal.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Gambia bans female circumcision

Today, 13:06

In Gambia female genital mutilation has been banned. President Jammeh said in a speech that it is banned with immediate effect.

Opponents of female circumcision are reluctant because the ban has not yet been legally defined. “President Jammeh’s statement sends a strong signal to the world, but a law is a stronger signal,” said anti-FGM activist Jaha Dukureh. “A law can save countless lives in Gambia.”

Dukureh has long campaigned for this ban in Gambia. …

Earlier this year, Nigeria also introduced a ban. In countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali it is still allowed.

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective, by Hilary Burrage: here.

17-year-old little tern seen in Gambia


English little tern and other terns in Kartong, Gambia

Kayn Forbes, birdwatcher from Norfolk, England, reports today on Twitter:

17 year-old Little Tern originally ringed in Great Yarmouth in 1998 seen in Kartong, The Gambia

On the photo, the little tern is in front. Behind it, larger Sandwich terns. Behind the Sandwich terns, still larger royal terns with their yellow bills. Finally, closest to the sea the biggest species: Caspian terns.

I fondly remember Kartong Bird Observatory, and terns on the beach in Gambia. However, I did not see little terns then; let alone such an individual, rather old for this species.

Little terns of Terschelling, the Netherlands: here.

Dutch Zeeland little terns: here.

Royal terns: here.

English Sandwich tern migration to Africa


This video from England is called Sandwich terns return to RSPB Coquet Island.

From the Farne Islands Blog in England:

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Mines a double!

Saturday 22nd February comments: This summer, for the first time on the Farne Islands, we ringed just over 100 Sandwich Tern chicks with small red darvics; special red plastic rings which have a unique three letter code enabling observers to read them in the ‘field’ with telescopes.

As a result we had a ‘return’ from a beach in Gambia in November as bird ‘UFA’ was spotted roosting amongst other terns on a beach. Now make that a double. News has just arrived that another of our Sandwich Terns has been seen, this time further south of Gambia in the Bijagos Archipelago off Guinee-Bissau. The bird fitted with the red darvic ‘UKS’ was noted on 22nd January.

This sighting shows you the value of such a ringing scheme and we hope this is the first of many sightings in future years so if you’re going abroad this winter, you may be a lot closer to the Farnes than you think!

Sandwich Tern ‘UKS’ movements:

17th July 2013 ringed as a chick on Inner Farne
13th August 2013 seen at Findhorn Bay, Moray
18th August 2013 seen again at Findhorn Bay, Moray
22nd January seen on a beach at Bubaque, Guinee-Bissau

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African bird count update


This video is called Some Birds of The Gambia 1.

And here is the sequel.

BirdLife in the Netherlands reports about the big international count of coastal birds, all the way from the Netherlands to South Africa. 1,500 people counted in thirty countries. I have ranked the reports from the north to the south.

From Morocco:

Like every winter, GREPOM BirdLife in Morocco did waterfowl counts. We will visit 150 wetlands throughout the country. Until now we have done 70 and 98 water bird species were observed. A preliminary analysis indicates that we have record numbers of wintering shovelers, red-crested pochard ducks, great cormorants and ferruginous ducks. While not as many teal and shelducks were counted as in previous years. Rarities we saw as well, like magnificent frigatebird, brent goose, blue-winged teal, purple sandpiper and ring-billed gull.

In Mauritania, there were 285 black-winged stilts in a small lakelet in the capital Nouakchot. In Diawling national park, for the first time since five years ago, women participated in the counting. There were more birds there than last year: 175,601 versus 144,140.

This video is called Kartong Bird Observatory, in Gambia, west Africa.

In the Gambia, in Tanji Bird Reserve, there were 2,000 grey-headed gulls, an Audouin’s gull, two kelp gulls and five tern species.

This video is about Tanji beach.

Balla Moussa in Guinea reported an osprey and lesser flamingoes.

Papanie Bai Sesay wrote from Sierra Leone:

Our water bird count in Sierra Leone had a flying start. Many species of waders and over fifty water bird species at Yawri bay, Sherbro river and Turtle Island. Today, we have discovered an important place upstream in the Sherbro river with lots of waterfowl. Yesterday we had three African skimmers behind York island.

In Ghana, a little grebe and a black-tailed godwit.

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Counting birds, from the Netherlands to South Africa


This video is called Gambia birding near Kotu Creek.

Last January, there was the first bird count ever all along the eastern Atlantic shores, in thirty countries, from the Netherlands to South Africa.

From the reports by the counters (translated):

Simon Delany counted in Gambia: “Baobolong is a gem of a wetland north of the Gambia River. … We walked huge distances. The counter is at forty species, including black storks, six hundred African spoonbills, pratincoles and ten species of wintering waders.”

From Mauritania:

On 22 January, he counted the birds at a small freshwater pond in Nouakchot. “Immediately, a barn swallow. And black-tailed godwit, spoonbill, ruff and shoveler as well.”

In Sierra Leone, a Dutch black-tailed godwit was seen near Kagboro Creek. Meanwhile, contact has been established between bird counter Papanie Bai Sesay and Dutch researchers. The godwit was ringed on May 14, 2012 in the Kamperpolder. There were at least a hundred godwits more in the same area.

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African migratory bird count, January 2014


This video is called Moroccan Birds Mini Documentary.

Translated from BirdLife in the Netherlands:

Morocco is also a participant in Flyway bird count

Morocco is also a participant in the simultaneous counting of wading birds along the Atlantic Flyway route, which will be in January 2014. The census is needed to understand the problems for wading birds along their route from Greenland to Africa.

Morocco is of great importance for migrating wading birds. There are many areas where waders have an interim pause before they continue south flying to their wintering areas along the coast.

Besides Morocco also Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde will participate in the first West African simultaneous count since eight years. The counts are needed to increase understanding wintering wading birds in West Africa better.