Majorca helps send dead man home to Africa

People around Majorca are donating money to the island's Senegalese community to help them send home the body of a young man who died after being hit by a car when he was running from police on Monday April 15th.

Majorca helps send dead man home to Africa
"They don’t want to street vend,” says Cheikh Ngalgou, president of the Senegalese Association of the Balearics (YAPO). File Photo: Bengt Nyman

“Abdoulaye had just got his residency permit and was planning to visit his parents back in Senegal for the first time in seven years,” Cheikh Ngalgou, president of the Senegalese Association of the Balearics (YAPO) told The Local.

“We’re trying to make his wish come true. He was his parents’ only child.”

On Monday April 15th, 27-year-old Abdoulaye Mbenge was rushed to hospital in critical condition after being knocked over by a car close to Palma beach.

Reports are unclear, but Mbenge was either being chased by police, or had decided to run when he saw police in the area.

The Senegalese Association of the Balearics is now honouring Mbenge’s life by raising money for his body to be repatriated back to his native country.

“He was an ambitious young man who seven years ago fled Africa’s poverty in a patera (makeshift boat used by Africans to reach European shores) and arrived in Majorca,” Ngalgou told The Local as he dealt with funeral preparations for Mbenge.

“He was a role model for many other young Senegalese men here as he was looking to stop street vending and was doing various courses through the Cáritas charity.”

Ngalgou and other members of YAPO managed to raise €1000 over the weekend but €6000 more are still needed for Mbenge's body to be taken back to Senegal.

“Hopefully with people’s help we’ll be able to repatriate Abdoulaye in the next four or five days," Ngalgou explained.

Majorca police have stated they were not chasing the young man for illegally selling goods in the street and that he just fled the scene when he spotted a police motorbike, local daily Diario de Mallorca reported.

But the island’s Senegalese community believes Aboulaye’s death has come as a direct result of police repression.

“The police are not bringing a solution to the table by chasing these men,” Ngalgou told The Local.

“When the crisis started, we lost all our funding from Spain’s Immigration Department," he said.

"We run courses to teach them to abide by the law and to have all their papers in order, but the problem will never be solved if these young men are not given the skillset needed to break into the job market," said the community leader.

"They don’t want to street vend,” concluded Ngalgou.

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Mallorca closes bars in crack down on hard-drinking tourists

Regional authorities on Spain's Balearic island of Mallorca on Wednesday ordered the immediate closure of bars on three streets popular with hard drinking tourists to limit the potential for coronavirus outbreaks.

Mallorca closes bars in crack down on hard-drinking tourists

Concerned many tourists are not respecting social distancing guidelines, authorities elected to close the venues on the Platja de Palma strip in the capital Palma and Magaluf, a favoured haunt with young booze-fuelled Britons.

One of Europe's hardest-hit nations with almost 30,000 deaths, Spain last month exited one of the globe's toughest virus lockdowns.

But as the summer season starts to take off authorities on the island feared matters could get out of hand unless they took tough action.

Earlier this week, Germany's health minister had expressed concern after hundreds of German tourists were seen partying on the island without masks or keeping a safe distance, fuelling fears of another coronavirus wave.

Local media on the Spanish island voiced outrage after video footage showed mainly German holidaymakers carousing outside bars and terraces on Friday evening, leading the German-language Mallorca Zeitung to note “it was as if no one had ever heard of the corona pandemic”.

The regional government last week had already announced hefty fines for those caught organising illegal parties or flouting rules on social distancing and face masks.

“We do not want uncivil tourists on our islands,” said regional tourism minister Iago Negueruela.

Negueruela warned that if the tourists simply took their boorish behaviour elsewhere then the crackdown would simply be widened.

Authorities in the Balearic Islands off Spain's eastern coast say they need to protect public health even as summer tourism, on which some 200,000 local jobs depend, begins to ramp up.