Eritrea releases 19 Yemeni fishermen out of 120 arbitrarily detained inside Yemeni waters
Eritrean authorities released 19 Yemeni fishermen on Saturday and returned 18 fishing boats that had been targeted in an Eritrean anti-piracy operation within Yemen’s territorial waters. About 100 Yemeni fishermen remain detained by Eritrean authorities.
According to the Yemeni Fishermen’s Cooperative Union, the fishermen had been “attacked and kidnapped” by the Eritrean navy in Yemeni territorial waters between the Hunaish Islands and the coast of Al-Khokha, Hodeidah governorate. The 19 Yemeni individuals who were released on Saturday were transported from Eritrea to Hodeidah, on Yemen’s western coast, fishermen told Almasdar Online.
The Fishermen’s Cooperative Union released a statement expressing “deep regret” over the flagrant violation committed by the “criminal elements” who had detained the fishermen. The Union called on the Yemeni authorities to take measures to protect fishermen and release those who continue to be detained, and to ensure the return of their boats and equipment.
The release of the 19 fishermen comes after Yemen’s Red Sea Coast Guard detained several Eritrians on Wednesday who were allegedly armed and attempting to hijack boats belonging to Yemeni fishermen off the coast of the Hunaish Islands in the Red Sea.
According to Chinese news organization Xinhua, the release of the Eritrean nationals was brokered by the Saudi-led coalition, and in particular the UAE, which reportedly guaranteed the release of the Yemeni fishermen.
Yemeni fishermen told Almasdar Online that the Eritrean navy has recently escalated its attacks on fishermen in Yemeni waters in the vicinity of Hunaish archipelago.
Edited by Alkhatab Alrawhani
On May 30, Eritrean boats intercepted Yemeni fishermen at sea, assaulted them, and confiscated seven of their boats, forcing 54 fishermen to make the perilous trip back to Yemen’s coast on a single boat.