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Autopsy says Gambian sailor died naturally, widow not convinced

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By Omar Bah

Gabonese doctors, who ran an autopsy on a Gambian national who died in a vessel, have confirmed that he died a natural death.

Samba Saidy, 39, was a seaman/sailor working with a vessel called Hawa, registered in Togo by a Gambian Saidina Dukureh.

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Saidy reportedly worked in the cargo ship for more than four years, sailing between Togo and Gabon until his mysterious death on 1st September 2021.

However, his family had raised suspicion about his death claiming they only got informed about it on 4th September, three days after his demise.

But in a medical report dated 6th September and shared with The Standard, the doctors said Saidy died naturally and that they do not suspect any foul play in his death. The doctors also confirmed he was known to be smoking cigarette. 

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When contacted for comments on the autopsy report, Saidy’s widow Ramatoulie Trawally, said: “I don’t trust the report and if the Gambia Government fails to intervene and investigate the matter, I will sue the vessel owner.

“I still suspect that there was foul play in my husband’s death because if there is nothing fishy about his death, why should his former boss be aggressive towards me? Why did he fail to send the autopsy report to me as agreed initially before they buried my husband? These are questions I want him to answer,” she said.

Madam Trawally said she now wants to initiate a court action against the vessel owner.

The owner of the vessel who is based in Gabon, Saidina Dukureh has maintained that there was no foul play in Saidy’s death.

Gambia Maritime

The Gambia Maritime Administration, GMA, has confirmed receiving information about Samba Saidy’s death from Gabon.

The GMA director general, Karamo Janneh said Mr Saidy was not legally registered with the vessel.

“He was not even given an employment letter and there was no normal procedure taken. This makes it very difficult for us to pursue but despite that and since he is a Gambian, we have asked our technical team to communicate with the Gabonese authorities to find out what has transpired and the engagements are still ongoing,” he said.

DG Janneh confirmed that the owner of the vessel had reached out to the GMA about a payment he wanted to make to Saidy’s family but they advised him to contact the Curator of Intestate Estate at the ministry of justice.

The GMA head of technical department, Wandifa Saidy said Maritime has reached out to the owner of the vessel and he has since forwarded them the autopsy report and other relevant documents regarding the monies he is supposed to pay to the late Saidy. He said the GMA has asked the family to lodge a formal request to its office so that they will know who they are dealing with. “That is still not done,” he said.

However, Saidy’s widow said she has already written to the Maritime Agency.

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