By Alpha Kamara
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone
Protests erupted Monday in Senegal's coastal city of St. Louis over the weekend killing of a fisherman in Mauritanian waters.
Fishermen and young people demanded justice for the shooting, burning tires and condemning their own security forces for failing to act.
Senegal’s Interior Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye condemn the killing and consoled the victim’s family.
The minister spoke in St. Louis alongside the governor of the area, Alioune Aidara Niang, after the incident.
Security sources said the 19-year-old fisherman from St. Louis was shot dead Saturday when the Mauritanian coastguard opened fire on a boat carrying nine Senegalese fishermen operating in waters near the border between the two countries on the Mauritanian side. The other fishermen were arrested.
This is not the first time the Mauritanian coastguard has clashed with Senegalese fishermen operating along their waters. Last year, more than 20 Senegalese fishermen were arrested by Mauritanian authorities for fishing illegally inside their territory. Some were wounded.
Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is currently attending the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has promised to raise the issue with his Mauritanian counterpart, according to the chief of communication of the Senegalese presidency.
“The head of state was moved by the death of a fisherman around St. Louis and he is willing to take action to stop this kind of situation [from happening] in the future. He will discuss it with his Mauritanian counterpart to find an amicable solution,” El Hadj Hamidou Kassé said in a statement.
A police patrol has been dispatched to the area and Senegal is also strengthening security on its side of the border.