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Mother, son of Bronx fire victims laid to rest in Soma

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By Binta A Bah

Emotional cries filled home in Soma, the hometown of Fatoumata Tunkara, as she and her six-year-old son were laid to rest.

Fatoumatta Tunkura, 43, and her son Omar Jambang, 6, were among the 16 Gambians who died in a fire at a New York apartment on Sunday 8 January 2022.

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The arrival of their bodies at the Banjul International Airport was greeted with emotional scenes as relatives and sympathizers restlessly waited to receive them for burial.

Family, friends, and loved ones gathered at her home in Soma to pay their respects.

Men shook their heads in agony and women carried their hands on their heads, sobbing and wailing as the two coffins were carried to the graveyard.

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“Woi yo woi ah tata le,” the mourners wailed, meaning she is gone.

“She was a loving and caring wife,” her husband told hundreds of mourners.

Salleh Baldeh, who flew in with the bodies from the US, was tearful. “We lived together with Fatoumatta. She was a very strong woman because she worked hard just to support her family back home.”

Chaku, as she was fondly called, financially supported her family, according to her brother Muhammed Tunkara.

“She was not only helpful but was also a cheerful woman. She was always happy. The family will surely miss her.”

She is survived by four children.

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