From Sudan at war to Aubervilliers, the tragic fate of Doni, 29, dead drowned in the Saint-Denis canal

The few photos gleaned from Facebook show a smiling young man, sometimes surrounded by friends, visibly a football fan and PSG supporter… A tribute will be paid this Sunday to Doni Neckson, a young Sudanese man who died on July 10, drowned in the Saint Canal -Denis at Aubervilliers.

The circumstances under which it fell into the water remain unclear. But there is little mystery about the conditions in which Doni lived his last days. Like hundreds of men from East Africa, Afghanistan, the Maghreb, he had stranded on the banks of the canal, in a miserable encampment which has spread rapidly since the confinement ended.

Thanks to the work of volunteers from the Solidarité Migrants Wilson collective, who wanted to give their identity back to the deceased and questioned their friends, we know a little more about Doni. He “was 29 years old, was catholic, loved football, had fled the war in his country, had been in France for five years”, summarizes a press release, which specifies that before arriving in the Paris region, Doni lived a time in Châlons-en-Champagne (Marne). His Facebook page soberly mentions a “move to Saint-Denis” in November 2019.

“Unfortunately, he was not the first exile to die in the canal. Above all, it risks not being the last, if the exiles, expelled from Paris, are not quickly taken care of, ”worries the collective in its press release.

800 to 1,000 people on the banks of the canal

The latter was part of the 16 associations which had seized the administrative court of Paris, by the means of a “liberty referee”, accusing the State and the communities to have been “failing”, by not meeting the needs homeless migrants during the health crisis. On June 5, the justice system gave them partial reason, by ordering the towns of Saint-Denis, Aubervilliers and the prefectures of Seine-Saint-Denis and of the region to install water points, toilets, to distribute hydroalcoholic gel and masks…

“But that is not enough to improve the conditions of their survival in this place”, continues the collective, which claims, like the humanitarian organization Doctors of the world, “a dignified care for those exiled and an end to harassment and police violence ”. However, even if the regional prefecture indicates that it “sheltered” 1,020 people during confinement, and 249 thereafter, it is clear that the camps are constantly growing.

The UDI mayor of Aubervilliers Karine Franclet announced that she should speak quickly with the prefect of Seine-Saint-Denis Georges-François Leclerc on this subject, deemed “sensitive and priority”. According to associations’ estimates, 800 to 1,000 people populate the canvas camps stretching from the Porte d’Aubervilliers to the Maltournée basin in Saint-Denis.

The tribute to Doni will be organized near the Pont de Stains, in Aubervilliers, from 2:30 p.m. The collective invites participants to come with flowers and candles.

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