The death of a Gabonese student in Turkey, has provoked strong emotion among the African students, who have been welcomed in increasing numbers in the country.
The body of the young woman, 18-year-old Jeannah Danys Dinabongho Ibouanga, was found on Saturday in a river near a railway line, not far from the University of Karabük (north) where she was studying mechanical engineering, report Turkish media.
According to initial findings, the young woman died “drowned” and no other injuries or traces of sexual violence were identified.
The exact cause of death should be specified after an autopsy, the report of which is expected “in the coming days”, indicates the private channel NTV.
Contacted by AFP, the Gabonese embassy in Ankara confirmed the death of the young woman on Wednesday, without further details but promising that she “will communicate later”.
The Gabonese Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed, in a press release read on Gabonese television, its “dismay and deep concern (after) the assassination of our compatriot”, specifying that its representation in Turkey had received instructions from demand an autopsy and the opening of a judicial inquiry into this tragedy.
The rector of Karabük University published a message of condolence on the establishment’s website, in Turkish and French, assuring that the young woman was “much loved by her friends and professors”.
On Twitter, the hashtag #JusticepourDina spread among African students at her university, several dozen of whom demonstrated on the premises of the establishment, brandishing portraits of the victim.
In a voicemail, billed on Twitter as a call from ‘Dina’ to her mother, the crying student pleaded with her mother to let her go to Sakarya University, less than two hours’ drive east from Istanbul: “There is no racism there”, said the young woman.
Turkey, whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deploys intense diplomatic and economic activity in Africa, welcomes more than 61,000 students from the continent (compared to 40,000 in 2019), most of them benefiting from scholarships, indicated Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu visited South Africa last month, according to his remarks reported by the official Anadolu agency.
The minister then underlined that Ankara saw in education “the main axis of cooperation with the continent”.