13 August 2014

Gambia Calls Off International Camp Amid Ebola Fears

The Gambia has called off an international Youth and Sports Summer camp in neighbouring Senegal for fear that the participants could be exposed to the risk of the highly contagious Ebola virus.

Speaking in an interview with Observer Sports yesterday, the minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu Jammeh confirmed the cancellation of the event, that was scheduled to take place in Casamance's regional capital of Ziguinchor between the 17 and 24 of August.

The Sports minister didn't go into much detail as to the reason behind the cancellation of the camp but the decision came hot on the heels of media reports of a suspected case of the deadly endemic in northern Senegal. Results have since declared that test conducted on a Guinean national who was travelling from Mali through Senegal is negative.

Last year Gambian teenagers participated in the first ever international camp and following a successful national event held in the West Coast regional town of Bwiam last week, the children between the ages of 10 and 15 were scheduled to return to Senegal for a week. The national camp was held under the theme: "Re-orienting the youth on the challenge for Gambians towards Vision 2016."

Over 120 young people from the seven administrative regions of The Gambia took part in the camp, which saw participants actively take part on different sporting disciplines, debates and drama, presentation of topical issues, site seeing, and tree planting exercises among others. Meanwhile, when contacted by this reporter earlier on, Pa Suwareh Faye, the deputy director of Planning at the Ministry of Youth and Sports and chairman of the organising committee told this reporter that preparations were ongoing for the international camp.

He added that the committee has not received any official information from the authorities asking for the cancellation of the camp at the time. "But as far as I am concerned, we are working on another option," he further told this reporter.

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