Kuwait releases six Iraqi fishermen intercepted at at disputed bay

An Iraqi fisherman (representational photo)

Baghdad ( Kuwaiti navy forces set free six Iraqi fishermen arrested at a common bay where maritime rights disputed by Iraq and Kuwait, a source said Friday.

A source told Mawazin News Agency that a Kuwaiti navy patrol had intercepted an Iraqi fishing boat hoisting the Iraqi flag at Khour Abdallah bay, southeast of Iraq, and arrested six on board. They were later handed over to the Iraqi navy.

The measure comes two days after local authorities in Basra province, which overlooks the bay, said an Iraqi fisherman was shot and wounded by Kuwaiti navy patrols.

Walid al-Sharifi, mayor of the town of al-Faw, south of Basra, said “Kuwaiti harassments of Iraqi fishermen escalated since the governments in Baghdad and Kuwait reached a water borders demarcation deal early February. He was quoted by Alsumaria News saying the incident required to submit a complaint from the Iraqi government to Kuwait.

Kuwaiti and Iraqi water borders were demarcated in a UN-sponsored agreement in 1993, and provisions of the agreement were reasserted under former Iraqi premier Nouri al-Maliki in 2013.

In February, the Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi ordered to reinforce the 2013 agreement which organizes maritime activity in the waterway. He had later shrugged off politicians accusations of treason and of ceding Iraqi water borders. Abadi argued that the latest decree was only related to organizing navigation in the bay rather than demarcating the borders.

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