Gambians in Birmingham pay tributes to Hawkeswood victims

By Sarata Jabbi

The Gambian community in Birmingham on Friday July 8th gathered at Hawkeswood recycling plant to pay tribute to four of their men who lost their lives on Thursday July 7th whilst on duty.

The 15ft tall wall, made of heavy concrete blocks, came crashing down on the men as they laboured at the Shredmet site in Aston Church Road, Nechells.

A sixth man miraculously managed to escape, digging his own way out of the rubble despite his leg having been broken.

Among the dead was Saibou Sillah, 42, a married father  of seven children, including two-year-old twins, from Edgbaston, Almamo Jammeh, 42, Bangaly Tunkara (Dukureh), Ousman Jabbie, from Aston, and Mohammed Jagana, a married father-of-one from Winson Green, Birmingham.

Paying tribute to the men, Manka Sawo, a friend of Mr Sillah who visited the scene of the accident told reporters: ‘I knew Saibou from the community centre on Raglan Road – where we used to meet for prayers.

‘This is a sad day. They are all from Gambia, some of them had moved to Spain for 15 or 20 years ago before coming to reside in UK. They would come to work by bus. They were all on the minimum wage. Saibou has been in the UK for three years.’

“Saibou had seven children, including two-year-old twins. He was a very, very decent guy. I’m devastated. I heard the news from the man who broke his leg. He phoned his family from hospital, and we came here to find out what had happened. I knew one of the men very closely; yesterday we celebrated Eid together. It’s very, very sad.”

Lang Dampha said he live with two of the dead men – and that he had known one of them (Almamo Jammeh) since childhood. I feel so sad about this accident, Almamo and I came from the same town Baddibu Noo-kunda in Gambia, I knew him as a very hardworking man. He’s expecting his family to join him on this Sunday coming from Gambia.

Mohammed Camara friend to one of the decease Mohammed Jagana, has this to say: “This is a very hard moment, Mohammed Jagana used to be a very hard working and a good friend, he loves his family very well h is survived with a wife and one daughter, he will be missed”.

Mr. Ansumana Barrow, president of the Gambian association in Ladywood Birmingham, said the community was saddened by the news and he knew one of missing.

“We came here to see what’s going on and then we are going to see the family members and see how we can help them. With counselling or whatever they need,” Mr Barrow said.

It is a painful tragedy just a day after the end of the Ramadan. We have been assured that a full inquiry is now under way to determine what caused this disastrous tragedy and how to proceed from there.
Our deceased brothers have left families behind and our thought and condolences go out to them, as well as all the support we can give. We pray, and we ask everyone to pray for the departed souls, said Mr. Babucarr Fatty executive member of Gambia Resources and Advisory Board (GRAB)

Meanwhile, two bodies of the five men have been removed from scene as investigations continue.

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