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Pirates in fishing trawler shoot fisherman in the head

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Simon Utebor, Yenagoa

Tempers rose among residents of Sagana and Akassa communities of Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State following the shooting of an artisanal fisherman by unknown gunmen, suspected to be pirates, from a fishing trawler.

It could not be ascertained if the victim, identified as Ayebaeifin Gabriel, aged 30, died from the gunshots.

The victim was reportedly shot in the head.

It was, however, learnt that Gabriel, after the shooting, fell into a coma and that plans were being made to move him to the emergency unit o the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, the state capital.

The incident, which occurred on Friday about ‎7.30am, provoked anger among indigenes of the fishing towns.

The Chairman, Community Development Committee, Ayibatonye Christopher, who confirmed the development, said the incident had provoked anger and tension in the area.

It was learnt that the incident had also opened old wounds among fishermen who had suffered many attacks in the past with their fishing nets damaged by foreign trawlers fishing in the high sea of Brass area of Bayelsa.

Christopher said, “The fisherman was shot by some unidentified men on a vessel identified simply as ‘IMO’.

“The fishermen on Thursday night had set their nets. But when they got to the place on Friday morning, they saw the fishing trawler dragging their nets away. They went after the fishing trawler, waving at it to drop the nets with huge catches, but the occupants of the fishing trawler opened fire on them. The victim was shot in the head.”

Also speaking on the development, the State Coordinator of the Environmental Right Action‎ and Friends of the Earth, Mr. Alagoa Morris, said the shooting was barbaric.

He said, ”The shooting is not different from the reasons the ERA has already put in public space.

“The fishing gears of the fishermen were damaged by the trawler and when the victim tried to approach the trawler to lay complain, they opened fire…sending bullets to kill.

“When will the authorities in Bayelsa State and Federal Government act on this? Or, are they saying they haven’t heard of this disturbing issue since?”

‎It will be recalled that the Civil Liberties Organisation, Bayelsa State Branch, and ERA had jointly forwarded a petition with relevant documents to the National Assembly.

The matter is said to have been presented on the floor of the House Representatives some months ago.

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