Unrest in Senegal after Mauritania coastguard kills fisherman

Fishermen in Mboro, Senegal [Photo by jbdodane ]

Fishermen in Mboro, Senegal [Photo by jbdodane ]
Angry protesters went on the rampage in Senegal on Monday after a fisherman was killed by coastguards in Mauritanian waters.

Hundreds joined the protest in the northwest coastal city of Saint-Louis, following the death of the young Senegalese fisherman late Saturday.

The protesters pillaged shops owned by Mauritanians and overturned cars, setting them ablaze, before police moved in with tear gas to disperse them.

At least three police officers were injured as the demonstrators hurled projectiles while chanting slogans calling for local fishermen to be given licences to fish in Mauritanian waters.

On Saturday night the Mauritanian coastguard opened fire on a boat with nine Senegalese fishermen aboard. The vessel was operating in Senegal territorial waters near the border between the west African neighbours, according to a Mauritanian security source.

A 19-year-old from Saint-Louis was shot and died later of his wounds, the source added.

“We condemn with the greatest force this intervention by the Mauritanian coastguard,” Senegal’s fisheries minister Oumar Gueye said on the private RFM radio station Monday.

The two countries have no fishing accord, “but that doesn’t justify the use of bullets leading to the death of a man,” he added.

The young fisherman’s body will be taken to the capital Dakar for an autopsy, added Gueye, calling for calm.

A prior fishing accord between Senegal and Mauritania was not renewed when it expired in 2016, after the Senegalese side refused a Mauritanian demand that fish caught in its waters should be landed in Mauritania.

Incidents between the Mauritanian coastguard and Saint-Louis fishing boats have become frequent in recent years.

Senegalese fishermen, particularly from Saint-Louis, have been tempted out of their domestic waters because of overfishing.

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